CHELSEA manager Roberto Di Matteo insisted he should not be thought of as a lucky manager on the eve of a fixture against a side he believes to be among Europe’s best.
The 2012 Champions League winners tonight at home face Serie A champions Juventus in the first of their Group E matches against the Italians, Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Nordsjaelland and Di Matteo, whose side were perhaps fortunate in the final stages of last season’s competition, believes that luck alone will not be enough to succeed.
“They have quality, experience and some dynamic players in the team,” he said. “They are probably one of the most difficult teams you could be drawn against in this Champions League. I expect a Juve who want to play their game. That is the Conte way. They like to get on the ball
and attack but we will try to eliminate the spaces on the pitch and fight back.
“[Luck?] They said the same about many other managers when they won. You need to deserve everything you get. We worked and prepared very hard. It can’t just be that.”
Juventus last season won the Serie A title without suffering a solitary defeat and in midfielder Andrea Pirlo – the man largely responsible for England’s European Championship quarter-final defeat to Italy – they have not only one of European football’s most graceful and intelligent players but an individual of which Di Matteo is exceptionally wary.
“Pirlo had a fantastic tournament for Italy,” said Di Matteo. “He’s an extremely great player which we have to be careful about.
“There’s always new challenges. There are every season. A club like Chelsea has to try and win trophies and be successful.”