Roberto Di Matteo urges Chelsea fans to rally round John Obi Mikel after Twitter abuse


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The Independent Football

Roberto Di Matteo has urged Chelsea fans to respect John Obi Mikel after the midfielder was the victim of abuse on Twitter following a mistake against Juventus on Wednesday.

Mikel deleted his Twitter account on Thursday morning and it later became apparent that racist abuse had been sent to him. Those racist tweets have been reported to the police.

"I've spoken to him and spoken to other players as well," Di Matteo confirmed last night. "I think we should do everything to eradicate this kind of discrimination in any way we can from our society."

"Fans have the right to express their opinions and their feelings, but in the right way. Our fans are brilliant. We condemn any kind of discrimination or comments or some sort of racist abuse, absolutely."

Despite Mikel's mistake on Wednesday, Di Matteo said that he was a valuable player for Chelsea who was not always fully appreciated by fans. "I think he's done extremely well for us in that position," the manager said. "It's a bit of a dirty job there, to try and break up the opponents' play. You don't always get recognised with the right credit. Fans fall more in love with more exciting and creative players, or goal-scoring players."

After several indifferent performances, Di Matteo said he was content with the form of the club's only recognised centre-forward, Fernando Torres. "We have a forward and we're happy with our forward," said the manager. Torres should start against Stoke City at Stamford Bridge today.