Di Matteo

23 September 2012 06:55
Terry could play on Tuesday.

Chelsea remain top of the Premier League, undefeated aft five games. The Blues beat dogged Stoke City with a rare goal from Ashley Cole with six minutes remaining.

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo, still with the demeanour of a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, should be delighted, but it's tough to tell.

" We stared really well," said the former Italian international.

"It was just a question of time running out [before we scored].

"Stoke defended with so many men, t was hard work to find spaces." Skipper John Terry and Frank Lampard we dropped to the bench for the encounter with Di Matteo defended his decision.

"I am just utilising the squad," he said.

"I brought in a couple of fresh players.

"We have a lot of games to come, so I'm using the players as necessary.

"Since I have taken over, I always rotate my squad. John Terry and Frank lead by example and they support me.

Terry, who faces a FA hearing on Monday over last season's allegations following a league match at QPR could even play against Wolves in the capital One cup on Tuesday.

"John could play," said Di Matteo. "Let's see what the outcome is first." One man who could feature is Victor Moses, the £9m signing from Wigan.

"Victor will probably play on Tuesday. It would be a good time to introduce him. What with just signing before the end of the transfer window and then having an international break, he hasn't been around much."

Di Matteo is unconcerned about the paucity of scoring from £50m man Fernando Torres.

He said: "I don't care who scores, midfielders or defenders.

"Daniel Sturridge could be back for next week's game [against Arsenal] and Fernando

Torres is in a very good mood as he is in the team that is top of the league."

Chelsea can be grateful for the three points to the boot of left-back Ashley Cole who scored his first goal since May 2010.

Cole is out of contract at the end of the season and could listen to offers from other clubs in January.

But Di Matteo wants his England defender to stay. "Ashely does not tel me what is going on [with his contract talks].

"His contract is between him and the club.

"My recommendation to the club is to keep him for a long as we can.

"Both parties are happy to talk [to each other].

Di Matteo played Oscar, Mata and Hazard together for the first time and it's a formation that Di Matteo could persevere with.

"They need more work together," he said.

"They need to practice and time to integrate into the system and for everyone to know each other.

"But I ask them to express themselves. I want my layers to have mobility, to find space.

Chelsea had two shouts for penalties turned down by referee Michael Oliver.

Di Matteo's view was that Oscar's one was not a penalty and should not have been booked. but he has some sympathy for the man in the middle.

"We have to understand the ref and his assistants role. They have missed penalties against us in previous games, but their role is difficult.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis on the other hand was furious with what he calls Oscar's attempt to gate a spot kick as "laughable".

"This is England, not Europe," he blasted.

"We can't have people falling over. I'm disappointed by their simulation.

"There are players who have a reputation for [diving]. We need to highlight this. We should not have to stomach it.

"On four occasions the ref did smashing.

"It's not fair on the ref."

Pulis was equally severe on David Luiz.

"He put in a dreadful challenge on Walters - he was very lucky to stay on the pitch," he added.

Pulis was delighted by his team's performance but not the result.

"That was the best we have played here in five seasons, " he said.

"We kept at it. Crouch says that we should have had a penalty too, but we didn't have the breaks.

Transfer signing Michael Owen had a runout.

"I'll give Michael time to get his fitness.

"He is a breath of fresh air. When he is given the chance, I'm sure he will take it."