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Monday, November 19, 2012
Torres faces axe ahead of Juventus clash

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has hinted he is ready to drop misfiring striker Fernando Torres for Tuesday night's crucial Champions League game against Juventus in Turin.

• Di Matteo: Defence must improve
• Blog: West Brom's perfect storm

The Blues' defence of their European title is on the line as they battle to keep their fate in Group E in their own hands against Serie A leaders Juve and it seems Di Matteo is ready to give Daniel Sturridge the lone striker role after Torres' latest horror show in Saturday's defeat against West Browmich Albion.

Torres lasted just 63 minutes before Di Matteo was forced to withdraw him from the firing line at the Hawthorns and he looks set to resume the bench warming duties that became his staple diet last season in Chelsea's biggest game of the current campaign.

"If I believe it is the right thing to do for the team, then yeah, I will leave him out," Di Matteo said. "When we moved Daniel Sturridge up there, he looked a danger. He had a very good chance saved by the keeper and another put wide. He was always a threat to the defence. We need to score goals, this is clear."

Di Matteo also criticised his team's defensive record of late, with the continued absence of skipper John Terry felt once again at West Brom.

"Clean sheets give you a chance to win games and we certainly have to improve on that side," he said. "Of course we miss John [Terry]. He is an important player for us. He gives us a lot of confidence at the back and in general to the team.

It's a shame that he is injured, but we will have to do without him until he comes back."

Di Matteo refused to be drawn on a heated dressing room row that was heard by many observers at The Hawthorns on Saturday, but he admitted the pressure is mounting after a run of form that has blunted Chelsea's early season promise.

"It is a challenging time when you don't win games and you need to instil confidence in players," he said. "This club are always looking to be competing at the top and every defeat is a problem for us, so certainly Tuesday is going to be a massive game in the Champions League for us."




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