Barcelona v Chelsea

Di Matteo to delay Drogba decision

April 23, 2012
By ESPN staff

Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo will wait until Tuesday morning before deciding whether striker Didier Drogba will start against Barcelona in the Champions League.

Didier Drogba
GettyImagesDidier Drogba played a full part in Monday's training session

• Drogba battling to be fit
• Torres: UCL qualification vital
• Pique: No rift with Pep
• Xavi: Fans will inspire us
• Blog: Why Barca will beat Blues

The Blues go into the second leg of their semi-final contest against the defending champions with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a goal from Drogba in the first leg at Stamford Bridge last week.

However, the Ivorian subsequently missed the weekend's Premier League draw with Arsenal due to injury, with Di Matteo unsure if he would recover from in time for Tuesday's second leg.

Drogba played a full part in training at the Camp Nou on Monday evening, but his manager said he will not make a decision about his participation until the morning of the match.

"I will evaluate the form and physical fitness of all my players, and then I will make the team selection based on that probably tomorrow morning," Di Matteo said. "So I cannot tell you [if Drogba will play] until tomorrow night."

Barcelona have their own worries about the fitness of a key player, with reports circulating on Monday about an injury problem to talisman Lionel Messi. However, the forward also played a full part in his side's training session ahead of the game and looks set to be ready to start on Tuesday.

The Champions League has been an elusive dream for Chelsea for a number of years, but goalkeeper Petr Cech is hopeful this might just be the year everything changes for the club.

"I've been hoping for the last eight years that it would be the year I'd have a chance to win the Champions League,'' Cech said. "Here we are again, in the semi-final.

"We always try to reach the final and go as far as we can, to try and win the competition. Many times we were close and haven't managed to do so.

"If we have a fantastic game tomorrow, we'll have a chance to reach the final. But we need to play the 90 minutes tomorrow - then we might be able to think about a final.''