Di Matteo to test defensive options

12 May 2012 07:46

Roberto Di Matteo revealed Chelsea would begin training with two rookie centre-backs in case David Luiz and Gary Cahill did not recover for the Champions League final.

Caretaker boss Di Matteo will end Sunday's final Barclays Premier League game of the season against Blackburn with no recognised senior centre-halves. Captain John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic are both suspended for next Saturday's Champions League final, while Luiz and Cahill will remain in a race against time to recover from their hamstring injuries.

Di Matteo said that being without both "would be a big problem", admitting there was no obvious solution, as he added: "We'll practise different solutions, just in case. At the moment, we have the other two centre-halves training but I'm trying other solutions as well."

Right-back Jose Bosingwa looks likely to be asked to fill one vacancy, having done so with spectacular results in the semi-final win over Barcelona, as well as in league games against Tottenham and QPR this season.

A second hole would leave Di Matteo with a monumental headache, with one of his midfielders possibly having to drop back into defence, such as John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien or even Oriol Romeu.

The Italian does have another centre-back in his squad but it would arguably be the biggest gamble of all to ask Sam Hutchinson to start a Champions League final, the defender having made just one substitute appearance since his extraordinary comeback from what had been a career-ending knee injury.

However, Hutchinson may get a chance to stake a remarkable claim against Blackburn on Sunday.

"He's got a chance of being involved (on Sunday), yes," Di Matteo said.

Having got himself banned for the Champions League final, Terry is now sweating on his place in the England squad for the European Championship.

The 31-year-old revealed on Thursday night he had still to hear from new manager Roy Hodgson ahead of Wednesday's squad announcement. Hodgson confirmed upon his appointment he would speak to both Terry and Rio Ferdinand to determine whether they could be part of the same set-up.

Source: PA

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