Ramires returns to the fold for Wednesday night’s Barclays Premier League clash against Reading at Stamford Bridge, with Roberto Di Matteo suggesting there could be changes to the line-up.
Our first home game of the season has arrived, with us in midweek action as a result of our involvement in the Uefa Super Cup in Monaco next week, and Di Matteo is expecting a stern challenge from Brian McDermott’s newly-promoted side, who earned a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke on Saturday.
‘I’m very wary of newly-promoted teams like Reading and Southampton,’ the Italian said. ‘It’s going to be a very difficult game when you play a newly-promoted team early on, full of enthusiasm and spirit. We will try our best to win our first home game.
‘You sometimes look at it and think you don’t want to change a winning team but it doesn’t always work like that. We will see for tomorrow night, I haven’t made my decision yet, we finished training not long ago and I have to think about it.
‘Ramires is fine, Marin is still out, so apart from his hamstring injury we are okay. It won’t be long, but it might not be before the international break, we will have to see.
‘We are slowly looking to integrate Oscar like we did with the other signings. He hasn’t been with us long so we have to give him the right time to get used to his new team-mates, the club and the team, do some tactical work with him and slowly put him into the team.’
In Reading, Di Matteo has identified a well-organised outfit that will still be on a high after a superb run of results that saw Brian McDermott’s side eventually earn automatic promotion from the Championship.
‘He has done a wonderful job. They had a great run in the second half of the season. I followed the Championship a lot and they’re difficult to play against,’ Di Matteo said. ‘They don’t concede many goals and are a threat on the counter-attack. I always found it hard to play against Brian McDermott’s teams.’
Di Matteo was also asked about potential transfers, indicating there is no news on incoming players, but did respond to questions surrounding the future of Yossi Benayoun and Florent Malouda, who have not been involved in either of our competitive matches.
‘At the moment it’s just a selection issue. We have a lot of competition and a lot of players in certain areas. That’s what it is at the moment, a fight for places,’ Di Matteo said.
‘I tend to speak to all the players. We have conversations and they are Chelsea players and part of the squad at the moment.
‘We will have to see, but until the transfer window closes they are with us and they are part of it.’
Hospitality tickets are still available for Wednesday’s game, from £150 + VAT, while seat only tickets are available from £80. For more information call 08714022325.