CHELSEA manager Roberto Di Matteo has demanded his side take revenge over Shakhtar Donetsk tonight at Stamford Bridge, or risk the ignominy of becoming the first Champions League winners to fail to progress from the group stage.
Di Matteo said his out of sorts team would need to summon a flawless display to overcome dangerous opponents who inflicted a wounding 3-1 defeat upon them in Ukraine two weeks ago.
Failure to plunder all three points would leave them in a precarious position – third in Group E if Juventus beat Danish minnows Nordsjaelland in Turin as expected – and likely to require a result in Italy to advance.
“I think we need to be at our best. We need a perfect game. Every player on the pitch needs to perform at the highest of their ability,” said Di Matteo. “In Donetsk the early goal helped them massively, and then to play a bit on the counter, so it’s important we start well and get the crowd behind us, and draw confidence from a good start.”
Defying the odds in Europe last season proved the making of Di Matteo, with Chelsea’s unlikely Champions League triumph cementing his progression from caretaker manager to permanent boss. That campaign was built on a series of against-the-odds victories, against Napoli, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and the former Blues midfielder believes the experience will aid their cause this evening.
“We’ve had must-win games and tomorrow is another one like that,” he added. “We need to play a perfect game tomorrow against Shakhtar, but we are strong at home. We found that over many years and we will be fired up to win it.”
Left-back Ashley Cole is injured, meaning Ryan Bertrand will deputise, while midfielder Juan Mata and defender David Luiz face late fitness tests. Veteran Frank Lampard has been ruled out for another seven to 10 days.