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Premier League

John Terry will not be given break from football during ban says Roberto Di Matteo


Roberto Di Matteo insists he has no plans to give John Terry a complete break from football while he serves his four-match ban for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

Terry watched Chelsea beat Tottenham 4-2 from the stands on Saturday as he began the suspension that was imposed by the Football Association for his comments towards Ferdinand last October.

The 31-year-old has retained the Chelsea captaincy despite the FA's sanction and looks set to lead the Blues out in their Champions League group clash in Shakhtar Donetsk tomorrow night.

Terry could be forgiven for wanting to take a break after such a tumultuous year, but when asked whether he had ever considered such an option, Di Matteo's response was blunt.

"No," said the Italian, who now hopes the club can move on from the matter.

"It has been a delicate issue and we are going to continue working with the authorities to eradicate discrimination.

"The board has made the final decision (to keep Terry as captain) and we can focus just on our football while keeping in mind that we have responsibilities to keep working towards a more respectful world."

One player who Di Matteo did give a recent break to is Juan Mata.

The decision has proven to be a wise one, with the Spaniard taking his goal tally to six in five after bagging a quickfire brace to swing the game in Chelsea's favour on Saturday.

Di Matteo gave Mata two weeks off after his exertions with Spain at Euro 2012 and the Olympics and the Italian is delighted that the move has paid off.

"It was of vital importance that we gave him a break, mentally and physically," Di Matteo said.

"It was a good decision from the way he is playing. This last international break, when he wasn't selected, has given him another little breather."

Mata was not selected for Spain's most recent World Cup qualifier against Belarus but insists his mind is totally dedicated to the task in hand at Chelsea.

"I don't know (whether anyone was watching from Spain). I just try to improve with every Chelsea game I play," Mata said. "I just wanted to do my best for my team and in this moment I am feeling really well.

"I had another chance for a goal but Fernando (Torres) was in a better position than me to score.

"But the most important thing for me was victory. Before the game we wanted to stay top of the league and we are still there."