Nobody likes us but we don't care – Roberto Di Matteo focused only on Arsenal
Chelsea manager also insists Terry will not be affected by outcome of FA disciplinary hearing
Saturday 29 September 2012
At the end of a very difficult week for Chelsea, Roberto Di Matteo insisted yesterday he is not worried about how the club is seen from the outside.
The club captain, John Terry has, pending an appeal, been banned for four games for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last season. The Queen's Park Rangers defender wrote on Twitter yesterday that "people need to read the facts" regarding the incident, and that "footage don't lie". Di Matteo, though, will not allow any external criticism to distract his players.
"We are confident," Di Matteo said, ahead of this afternoon's game at Arsenal, "so we don't really care too much the way the outside world, the external environment sees us, we have to focus on our strength, that's the way we operate.
"That's how I see it, how I feel it. I cannot influence what other people's opinion is. We can only influence the way we play or the way we behave.
"We have to set good standards. I try to set good standards. But, at the end of the day, we won't be liked by our opposition's fans. That's generally speaking for everybody. So we cannot waste too much energy worrying about what they're thinking. We have to think about ourselves, try and win games for the club."
Terry is available for today's game despite missing a few days of training this week to attend his disciplinary hearing at Wembley.
Di Matteo said everything would carry on as normal, and he would pick his team this morning with reference only to the match at the Emirates.
"My criteria will be more or less the same," Di Matteo said. "From what I could see, [Terry] is physically in good form. It will be a normal procedure.
"From my point of view, he's available. It'll be down to me making the team selection to see what I think is the best team to beat Arsenal."
Terry is famously able to play on despite issues that might distract others, and Di Matteo anticipates no loss of focus should he start today.
"He's an experienced player, playing many games before, difficult games under difficult circumstances and environments," he said. "So if [he is] selected I don't think there will be a problem."
While Di Matteo was understandably cautious about discussing recent events, he was quick to praise Terry's character in a professional sense. "All I can judge is his professionalism when he's here at the club," Di Matteo said. "That's spot on. He's always one of the first in. He works hard, applies himself very well, and he's been a wonderful servant for this club, professionally."
Chelsea have started the Premier League season well and are top, but Arsenal will be their strongest domestic opponents so far this year. "It's certainly going to be a big test," Di Matteo acknowledged. "Arsenal away is always a big test, a big challenge for us. But it will be for Arsenal, too, we are a good team."
Although Arsenal sold Robin van Persie and Alex Song this summer, Di Matteo said he predicted they would be a threat from the start. "I said at the start of the season that Arsenal were going to be challenging for the league," the manager said. "I'm not sure anybody believed me but that's the way I saw it, I haven't changed my mind.
"Personnel have changed, but the philosophy has not changed. I don't think they have a different way of playing. They play with a lot of possession and ball retention, but Lukas Podolski and Gervinho have been scoring goals, and Santi Cazorla.
"They have players who are a threat and change positions."
Latest in Sport
Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger 'optimistic' of making signing, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Edinson Cavani linked
John Stones to Chelsea: Next season's bumper TV deal means clubs such as Everton can say 'no'
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2 player ratings: Who was to blame for Chelsea's defeat? Did Pedro impress on his home debut? Sako and Ward star
Kevin De Bruyne: Why do Manchester City put such a high value on a player Chelsea rejected?
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'