Juventus duo praise 'extraordinary' Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo

Di Matteo is the first Italian to win the European Cup with a foreign club

Roberto Di Matteo today received a welcome vote of confidence ahead of Chelsea's potential do-or-die Champions League game at Juventus - from the opposition.

Juve star Claudio Marchisio and assistant manager Angelo Alessio both hailed the job done by their fellow Italian at Stamford Bridge, the latter confident Di Matteo would not be sacked if the European champions failed to reach the knockout stages.

And that was exactly the outcome Marchisio and Alessio were seeking as they plotted the win over Chelsea tomorrow night that would put their own side on the brink of qualifying at the holders' expense.

Despite Di Matteo securing the Blues' first-ever Champions League title in May, there is no telling how owner Roman Abramovich would respond to them becoming the first holders to crash out before Christmas.

But Alessio, performing the duties of Juve manager Antonio Conte during the remainder of the latter's ban over the 'Calcioscommesse' match-fixing scandal, said of Di Matteo: "He did something extraordinary last season and he is showing it again this year.

"We're pleased when an Italian coach does so well in England. We are pleased with what he has done and what he is doing.

"I don't think he is actually going to lose his job if they don't qualify."

Di Matteo came from nowhere to become the first Italian to win the European Cup with a foreign club after being promoted to caretaker manager at Chelsea.

His appointment as permanent boss was greeted with scepticism amid suggestions securing Pep Guardiola was Abramovich's long-term aim and two Barclays Premier League points from 12 have not helped the incumbent's cause.

But Juve midfielder Marchisio added: "He arrived in mid-season in place of the previous coach.

"For this reason, he was probably under pressure but, nonetheless, he has been able to reach great things, so I am extremely happy and satisfied with his results."

Marchisio and Alessio had no intention of easing the pressure on Di Matteo, whose side are one point clear of Juve with two Group E games remaining.

Marchisio said: "Qualification is at stake.

"We know it's very important - our biggest game of the year - and we want to go through."

Alessio said: "We know, without beating about the bush, that it's all or nothing and we want to go through."

He added: "If we are not so good, we will play the Europa League, but we know we have achieved something good already and we have faith in the fans - Antonio has told me he wants to see the stadium rocking."

Di Matteo has hinted he may abandon the cavalier style demanded by Abramovich tomorrow night in order to steady the ship.

But Alessio said: "We don't expect a game from a Chelsea side who will not come to attack us.

"They have great attackers and I cannot see them playing any other way."

That cost Chelsea in the reverse fixture in September as they blew a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2.

Marchisio and Alessio repeatedly insisted Juve had no fear of the European champions and shrugged off their own side's inconsistent form in front of goal ahead of a game they must win.

The Italian champions and league leaders have been linked with the man who fired Chelsea to Champions League glory.

Marchisio said of a potential move for Didier Drogba: "Drogba is certainly a great player.

"But we have great strikers, so actually we don't need him.

"I trust all my team-mates."

Juve are sweating over the availability of one of their strikers after Mirko Vucinic missed training yesterday due to flu.

However, he did train this afternoon after Alessio said he would be assessed ahead of tomorrow's game.

Provisional Chelsea squad: Cech, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Cole, Bertrand, Mikel, Romeu, Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Hazard, Moses, Marin, Piazon, Torres, Sturridge, Turnbull.

PA

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