Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo not considering Manchester United clash in team selection for Shakhtar Donetsk

 

Roberto Di Matteo has insisted Manchester United will be the furthest thing from his mind when he comes to pick his team for tonight's crunch Champions League clash at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Di Matteo is expected to recall John Terry for this evening's Group E summit meeting on the anniversary of the match against QPR which led to his four-match domestic ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

Beyond that, it is hard to glean precisely what changes the Italian will make for the second of four huge matches in quick succession.

He picked his strongest available side for Saturday's Barclays Premier League win at Tottenham but may be tempted to shuffle his pack tonight with Sunday's top-of-the-table clash with United in mind.

But he said: "I won't think about Manchester United, only this game.

"We've got to focus on it, try to win the game and that's a big, big boost for our campaign in the Champions League."

Di Matteo will be aware of the number of matches played by the likes of Fernando Torres, David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic this season and may decide one of them needs a break.

He added: "There are always knocks and bruises and maybe some fatigue as well considering the majority of our team have been away on international duty.

"Some of them have played two games for their country. All these things are things to think about."

Whatever side Di Matteo picks should be captained by Terry after Chelsea refused to strip him of the honour over the language he used towards Ferdinand precisely a year ago.

And in timing that could hardly be more ironic, the defender will also wear an armband bearing the slogan 'Unite Against Racism' as part of a Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) campaign scheduled for this week.

It has become a cliche that Terry saves his best performances for when he is in the eye of a storm.

But never has he faced a bigger test of character than the aftermath of his guilty verdict in his Football Association racism case.

Di Matteo said: "I've never been concerned about picking him.

"He's been able to focus on the games and that's what the players love to do, playing football and it's good for them that they can focus on that."

He added: "What is common for players is that, even if they have family problems or some kind of issues outside in their private life, they tend to be able to focus on the football because it kind of just helps them."

Shakhtar boss Mircea Lucescu warned Chelsea his in-form side were a completely different prospect to Spurs.

"We are also different from Tottenham these days," he said.

"I believe that our team's level is higher.

"This is true of both each player's individual skill and the game organisation.

"I think that we surpass Tottenham in terms of those qualities."

Related articles...

Lenient John Terry punishment sparked Kick It Out boycott claims former England striker Cyrille Regis

Shakhtar Donetsk's boys from Brazil ready to conquer Continent, beginning with Chelsea

One year on... John Terry will carry anti-racism message on to field

PA

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits