We can cope with fixture congestion, says Roberto Di Matteo

 

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has welcomed the chance to compete on seven fronts this season - despite the prospect of another fixture pile-up for his side.

The Blues' march towards Champions League and FA Cup glory last term thrust them into a punishing schedule that arguably contributed to them finishing their worst Barclays Premier League place of the Roman Abramovich era - sixth.

Many of Chelsea's stars then went on to play at one or both of the European Championship and Olympic Games and there is no respite this season, with the club involved in the most competitions in their history.

On top of their commitments in the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and newly-rebranded Capital One Cup, the Blues' unprecedented success opened the door to the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

And despite repeatedly bemoaning the demands placed both on his team and himself towards the end of last season, Di Matteo insisted he would not have it any other way this term as he targeted the first available piece of silverware tomorrow, the Community Shield.

He said of the three additional trophies: "They're opportunities.

"It's very hard to be involved in those competitions.

"When you look at them, it's great to be involved and you want to win these trophies because they don't come around very often.

"That's how we look at it. We'll deal with the fixture list."

Chelsea have a well-established policy of fielding youngsters in the League Cup, while Di Matteo rested several of his key players during last season's Premier League run-in after his side reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and FA Cup.

The difference this term is that the Blues have arguably even more strength in depth in attacking areas, having splashed out a reported £66million on the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin.

That should allow Di Matteo to rotate without weakening the side and he was looking for everyone to accept that state of affairs in order to help the club compete seriously on as many fronts as possible.

"We are going to try and win the trophies we're involved in," Di Matteo said ahead of tomorrow's Villa Park clash with Manchester City.

"It takes a collective effort to achieve that.

"You have to be able to work with everybody and everybody has to try and give their best - even if they're sometimes out of the team for a while."

Di Matteo admitted it could take time to work out exactly where and when to fit in his new signings alongside established stars Frank Lampard, Juan Mata and Ramires.

"Some adapt a bit quicker than others, so we'll have to be patient," he said.

"The good players can always play together. We will find the right way to do that, and the right balance within the team. That's important."

The Italian has not even had a chance to work out exactly what part Oscar will play, with the £25million man still on Olympics duty with Brazil.

After playing today's men's final at Wembley, the 20-year-old will remain on international duty for his country's friendly against Sweden on Wednesday before returning to his new club.

Di Matteo said: "Then we'll assess him and see how he is. We'll take it from there.

"It's too early to say which game he will be involved in."

Chelsea are still planning more signings, including a striker, but Di Matteo insisted that would not mean more frustration for Daniel Sturridge, who has repeatedly declared his desire to challenge Fernando Torres for the centre-forward berth.

Sturridge played nearly all of last season out wide and Di Matteo said: "I see him as part of my plans, absolutely.

"He's part of the squad and the team, and still has a lot to give.

"He still has a lot to learn as well, but we're hopeful he can develop even more and become a fantastic and great player for us."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss