DI MATTEO: FOCUSED ON FOOTBALL

Roberto Di Matteo has spoken publicly ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s game at Tottenham, and welcomes back two England internationals into his squad.

The manager was at Cobham on Friday as he met with the press following the morning training session, and had plenty to discuss with the visit to Andre Villas-Boas’s Spurs to come at the weekend, a game we face without the suspended John Terry, who this week accepted an FA charge that will see him suspended for four domestic fixtures.

Team News

Frank Lampard and Ryan Bertrand rejoined training at Cobham yesterday (Thursday). The pair missed England’s two matches during the break for international fixtures, Lampard with a calf injury and Bertrand with a systemic viral infection.

There were no other problems as players reported back from their country’s fixtures with a clean bill of health.

‘Fortunately they all got back healthy and without injuries,’ reported Di Matteo. ‘Ryan and Frank joined the group yesterday for the first time so had two full training sessions with us and will be available for tomorrow.’

On Tottenham

We face Spurs for the first time since our former manager Andre Villas-Boas took charge at White Hart Lane, and having worked under the Portuguese at Stamford Bridge last season, Di Matteo is looking forward to what promises to be a fantastic London derby.

The Italian feels his players will be more keen to earn three points and maintain our strong position at the top of the Barclays Premier League than get one over on their old boss.

‘We are more focused playing against Tottenham, a team in very good form with four consecutive wins,’ he said. ‘We haven’t won in the league there since 2005, a very long time, and they are always difficult games for us to play as well. I don’t think in their mind it is about revenge, it is more about playing against the club and the good players they have.

‘We’ve obviously worked together and tomorrow we will be opponents for the first time as well but during the game there are not going to be any good feelings between us, but certainly after the game. We are in touch from time to time and our relationship is good.’

On John Terry

The defender this week accepted the findings of an FA commission into language he used in our game at Queens Park Rangers last October, which means he will miss four domestic matches, starting tomorrow, with a fine of £220,000.

Di Matteo faced extensive questioning over the issue, but reiterated the club’s policy not to publicly discuss internal disciplinary measures, including whether Terry will retain the captaincy.

‘It’s a longstanding policy we have as a club and that’s how we have always dealt with internal matters and disciplinary measures that we have taken against players and we’ll continue to do so in the future,’ the manager said.

‘We appreciate that he has not appealed the ban and the fine, and that he has apologised publicly for the language he used, and we are supportive of that.

‘It has certainly put a little bit of a cloud over the image of the club. We’ve done many good things as well and it’s a shame we cannot talk more about football which is our main priority. I’m sitting here and I’ve a big week coming up – probably one of the most important weeks with Spurs away, Shakhtar in the Champions League and then Man United.

‘I think the results tell us we’ve been able to focus on the football and not so much the events outside football, and the team in general has been supportive. We’ll be focused again to play against Spurs and have a good game.’

NEWSFLASH: LAMPARD AND BERTRAND PASSED FIT

Frank Lampard and Ryan Bertrand rejoined training at Cobham yesterday (Thursday).

The players missed England’s two matches during the break for international fixtures, Lampard with a calf injury and Bertrand with a systemic viral infection.

Roberto Di Matteo reports they have since completed two training sessions at Chelsea and are available to face Tottenham tomorrow.

HAZARD: DANGEROUS FRIENDS

Eden Hazard will be reunited with two international colleagues at White Hart Lane on Saturday lunchtime.

The Chelsea man was a substitute for Belgium on Tuesday night as they beat Scotland 2-0 in Brussels, four days after a 3-0 away win at the expense of Branislav Ivanovic’s Serbia.

Joining Hazard in the Belgian setup are two players added to the Tottenham squad over the summer by new manager Andre Villas-Boas, who has sought to reinvigorate the squad he inherited from Harry Redknapp following the departure of Luka Modric to Real Madrid and the retirement of Ledley King.

Jan Vertonghen is a tall and powerful defender bought from Ajax as a centre-back but who has impressed at left-back, while Mousa Dembele caught the eye at Fulham with his enterprising midfield displays before switching to White Hart Lane.

‘Dembele is a big player, I think he is one of the best players in the league at this time and it is difficult to defend against him,’ Hazard said. ‘He has great pace and good technique, and is very effective in the centre of the pitch.

‘I follow all the Belgian players in the premier league, and now he is at a bigger club with better players it will be good for him.

‘Normally Vertonghen is a central defender and not a left-back but he can play both, he is very good technically and likes to bring the ball forward out of defence. He normally plays as a left-back for the national team.’

Naturally, there was discussion around tomorrow lunchtime’s kick-off at White Hart Lane when the players were away on international duty.

‘I talked a bit with those two players about the game, and as Dembele came off injured when I replaced him, I told him I hoped that he would still be injured at the weekend,’ joked the 21-year-old Hazard. ‘But really I hope he can play, that it will be a good game and that the best team can win.

‘We always talk a little bit among us as international players, and I spoke to some of them about the Premier League before I came to Chelsea. I knew it was a big competition but now I am here I can see it with my own eyes and I am very happy in England.’

Hazard already has experience of capital clashes against QPR and Arsenal, and expects another lively atmosphere in north London at the weekend.

‘On the field it doesn’t feel like a derby, not so different, but you know it means a lot to the supporters and the atmosphere is very intense, so it is important that you win these matches as much as you can,’ he said.

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR V CHELSEA – PART ONE

19.10.2012

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR V CHELSEA – PART ONE

The interruptions in our fixture list are now over for 2012, and it’s a major match to resume the league campaign…

18.10.2012

STATEMENT ON JOHN TERRY

Chelsea Football Club believes John Terry has made the correct decision by not appealing against the FA judgment relating to language he used at the QPR match last October…

18.10.2012

FA STATEMENT ON COLE FINE

The FA has today (Thursday) issued a statement regarding a fine following a charge for Ashley Cole…

18.10.2012

LATEST CLUB WORLD CUP TICKET DETAILS ANNOUNCED

The latest ticket selling arrangements for the FIFA Club World Cup have been announced…

18.10.2012

GILES SMITH’S THURSDAY THOUGHTS

In his latest column, Chelsea supporter Giles Smith has reason to raise the spectre of a night 15 years ago this very month before defrosting and looking forward to a hot fixture to come…

18.10.2012

LATEST MANCHESTER CITY TICKET DETAILS ANNOUNCED

The latest ticket selling arrangements for our Barclays Premier League game against Manchester City have been announced…

18.10.2012

THE TWEET SPOT: VICTOR MOSES

As he settles into life at Stamford Bridge, Victor Moses admitted on Wednesday that he was in shock when he first discovered Chelsea wanted to sign him.

18.10.2012

ONLINE POLL’S WINNING CHARITY ANNOUNCED

The Thomas Ball Children’s Cancer Fund has won the fans’ Online Charity Poll and will now hold bucket collections during the Manchester United game on Sunday 28 October…

17.10.2012

COLE RETURNS AS ENGLAND ARE HELD

Ashley Cole earned his 99th international cap by playing the full 90 minutes in England’s rearranged World Cup qualifier against Poland in Warsaw…

17.10.2012

THE MANAGER SPEAKS: PART TWO

In the second part of Roberto Di Matteo’s website interview, he tells us what prompted him to return to football following retirement, and discusses the coaching setup…

17.10.2012

FRIENDLY WIN FOR YOUNG BLUES SIDE

A space in the fixture calendar for the Chelsea Under-21 squad over the international break was filled on Wednesday with a friendly against Arsenal, played at the Gunners’ training ground…

17.10.2012

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: DELAYED RETURN FOR DEFENSIVE DUO

Today’s Chelsea TV headlines come from Cobham, where Roberto Di Matteo will be putting the first team squad through their paces ahead of the Tottenham game…

17.10.2012

PREMIER LEAGUE FANS SURVEY

Your chance to tell us your views and opinions about your club and Premier League football… with the chance to win a pair of tickets to watch Chelsea, a replica shirt or one of 10

17.10.2012

MAN UNITED, MAN CITY AND CLUB WORLD CUP TICKET UPDATE

The latest ticket selling arrangements for two upcoming home matches, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup, have now been announced…

16.10.2012

MIXED NIGHT FOR INTERNATIONAL BLUES

It was another busy night of international action for Chelsea’s players, but England will have to wait after their game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch…

16.10.2012

GULLIT: STARTING TO BUILD

As a man who represented the Blues in the 1990s, Ruud Gullit believes the best is yet to come from the current table-toppers…

16.10.2012

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: BACK FROM AFRICA

The Blues News cameras were as ever at Cobham today to capture the return to training of John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses following their international success…

16.10.2012

PAT NEVIN: LOCAL COUNSELLING

Forget the international matches, we all know the big story of the week will come on Saturday when the Blues take on London rivals and a former boss. Pat Nevin begins the countdown in this

15.10.2012

MAN UNITED, MAN CITY AND CLUB WORLD CUP TICKET UPDATE

The latest ticket selling arrangements for two upcoming home matches, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup, have now been announced…

15.10.2012

THE YOUNG GENERATION

In our second feature of the season focusing on the club’s Academy, we cast an eye over an impressive start to the new campaign for the Under-18s…

15.10.2012

COULD YOU BE CHAIRMAN FOR THE DAY?

The Chelsea Foundation Lottery is offering fans the chance to become Chairman for the Day during a Chelsea home game in this Friday’s draw…

15.10.2012

MATA JOINS THE CHELSEA BLOGGERS

We are delighted to unveil Juan Mata as the latest Chelsea man to become a blogger for the official website.

STATEMENT ON JOHN TERRY

Chelsea Football Club believes John Terry has made the correct decision by not appealing against the FA judgment relating to language he used at the QPR match last October.

Chelsea also appreciates, and supports, John’s full apology for the language he used. The club firmly believes such language is not acceptable and fell below the standards expected of John as a Chelsea player.

The Board has conducted its own investigation into the matter, and considered the various issues involved. The Board has taken further disciplinary action in addition to the four-match suspension and £220,000 fine imposed by the FA. In accordance with our long-standing policy, that disciplinary action will remain confidential.

Chelsea enjoys support all over the world. We have players and supporters from many different countries and cultures and our club is committed to eradicating all forms of discriminatory behaviour. John is fully committed to continue supporting that ongoing work.

The FA suspension means John will be not be available to play in our games against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United in the Premier League and League Cup, and Swansea.

John Terry’s statement, released today, reads:

‘After careful consideration, I have decided not to appeal against the FA judgment.

‘I want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone for the language I used in the game against Queens Park Rangers last October.

‘Although I’m disappointed with the FA judgement, I accept that the language I used, regardless of the context, is not acceptable on the football field or indeed in any walk of life.

‘As I stated in the criminal case, with the benefit of hindsight my language was clearly not an appropriate reaction to the situation for someone in my position.

‘My response was below the level expected by Chelsea Football Club, and by me, and it will not happen again.

‘Looking forward, I will continue to do my part in assisting the club to remove all types of discriminatory behaviour from football.

‘I am extremely grateful for the consistent support of Chelsea FC, the fans and my family.’