JUVE BEEN NAMED; JUVENTUS V CHELSEA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP E IN TURIN, TONIGHT, KO 7.45PM; Di Matteo Wants Some New Leaders to Take over from Blues' Old Guard
Byline: MARTIN LIPTON Chief Football Writer reporting from Turin firstname.lastname@example.org
THE dressing room may be angry but Roberto Di Matteo is seeking a new group of leaders in Turin this evening.
For nearly a decade, Chelsea's core strengths have been built a the spine embodied by Petr Cech, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, players who dug deep in the hour of greatest need.
Di Matteo accepts those are the virtues he needs from what he acknowledged represents "a knockout game three months early", Chelsea's night of Champions League destiny coming far ahead of schedule.
Yet with Drogba gone, Lampard and Terry injured and the Blues poised on the edge of the abyss, Di Matteo conceded he is hoping his faith in the next generation will not backfire.
"There's a degree of truth in what you're saying about the players who aren't here," said the Chelsea boss, who pointed to the angry words that followed Saturday's defeat at West Brom as proof the fire still burns in his team.
"But we still have plenty of experienced players, and leaders. Petr Cech is there. We have Branislav Ivanovic, John Obi Mikel, who has been playing for many, many years, and Juan Mata.
"There are plenty of players who can be leaders who will be out on the pitch here as well.
"Maybe they're not so vocal, so they have to show it in a different way. But I think everybody will have to show a bit of leadership in a game like this. Not just a couple of players."
Di Matteo's decision not to name-check the most expensive player in British football history says all there needs to be said about Fernando Torres.
If the Italian follows his instincts and leaves the Spaniard out tonight few travelling fans will complain.
Since arriving from Liverpool in January last year, Torres has scored in just 13 of the 77 games he had played for Chelsea in the Premier League and Europe.
That adds up to 5,000 minutes and 15 goals - a pitiful return by any standards but even more so given he has started every match this season except the Capital One Cup win over Manchester United.
Those supporters were infuriated by the display at Albion that lead to a heated dressing-room inquest, led by stand-in skipper Cech, although Di Matteo believes that was something positive.
He added: "It's not the first time it's happened. We demand a lot of ourselves, expect a lot of ourselves. We were very disappointed and frustrated, so it's good sometimes, yes.
"I don't want people to accept poor performances. We all want to see a reaction. Now we certainly need a big performance. We've proven many times before we can do it. …