Roberto Di Matteo open to pairing Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres for Champions League final
Monday 14 May 2012
Roberto Di Matteo has revealed he had Saturday's Champions League final in mind when he paired Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres in Chelsea's win over Blackburn.
Drogba and Torres both came off the bench in the Blues' last Barclays Premier League game of the season yesterday, linking up for the final 21 minutes of the 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.
Caretaker manager Di Matteo has never started the strikers in tandem since taking charge just over two months ago but confirmed he had been looking at potential options for this weekend's showdown with Bayern Munich during the 2-1 win over relegated Rovers.
"I tried a few things to just have a look and see how it could work out," he told Chelsea TV.
"It's always difficult because obviously it's going to be a different opposition.
"But I've been trying to figure out a few things."
Drogba and Torres being in the same XI would have been unthinkable before Chelsea's Champions League semi-final triumph against Barcelona.
The received wisdom is that they do not work as a duo, with neither having found the net in five starts together or on the 19 other occasions they have been on the pitch at the same time.
It is still unlikely Di Matteo would gamble on that changing in what is the biggest game of his life, but with four players suspended and three potential injuries for Saturday's clash at the Allianz Arena, it is not impossible.
Drogba appears certain to start what is looking increasingly like his farewell match for Chelsea, with Juan Mata and Salomon Kalou in support, leaving a vacancy for one of Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda, Daniel Sturridge or Torres.
Lampard may well be earmarked for a holding role alongside John Obi Mikel, Malouda is sweating on a hamstring injury picked up yesterday, while Sturridge has been out of sorts since the turn of the year.
Torres, who has an impressive 18 assists this season, could therefore be a contender to play on the right side of attack, presuming Di Matteo does not also suddenly abandon the 4-2-3-1 formation that has served him so well since his appointment.
The Italian's selection will also depend on the availability of injured centre-backs David Luiz and Gary Cahill, with captain John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic both suspended.
Terry signed off for the season yesterday by heading in his seventh goal of the campaign, one shy of his personal record.
"I am delighted with seven," he said.
"I rose up and it was a decent header, I was delighted with it, and I was pleased with the performance as a whole."
Terry, who was heavily criticised for his performance in Tuesday's 4-1 thrashing at Liverpool, added: "It's always good to end the league season with a win, especially bouncing back after Liverpool in the week as well.
"Now we go into a huge week and we can start concentrating on Munich.
"Robbie has rested players, hopefully we will have everyone fit, and those of us that are suspended have been playing games and we still have a big part to play this week in training and preparation."
Blackburn boss Steve Kean is also jetting off this week as he travels to India for a debrief with the relegated club's owners in the wake of their miserable season.
He could be beaten to Pune by a petition that has been set up by Rovers fans demanding his removal as manager, which will be sent when it reaches 5,000 signatures.
The much-maligned Kean, who was resigned yesterday to losing some of his top players, was defiant about his own chances of staying and beginning the task of rebuilding at Ewood Park.
He said: "We find ourselves in a level below. We need to add quality and depth to make sure we are competitive."
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