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  • Chelsea v Juventus, Champions League

Di Matteo forgives and forgets Torres outburst

ESPN staff
September 19, 2012
Fernando Torres is back in the fold © PA Photos
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Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has insisted there is no problem between him and Fernando Torres, despite the Spaniard storming off after being substituted in his last game.

Torres was clearly angry after being withdrawn from Chelsea's Premier League match against QPR at the weekend, which saw the west London club drop their first points of the season in a 0-0 draw.

But Di Matteo insists the issue has not festered, and the Spaniard is aware the substitution was purely tactical.

"There's no problem with Fernando," Di Matteo said. "He's played all the games before I made the change.

"It was 0-0 and I tried to change the dynamic of the game."

It remains to be seen whether Torres starts in the club's opening Champions League group game against Juventus on Wednesday, with Daniel Sturridge - who replaced him at the weekend - and summer signing Oscar vying for opportunities.

Di Matteo has already stated that Sturridge will get more opportunities in the coming weeks, while on Oscar he added, "You will see more of him in the future, for sure."

No side has ever defended the Champions League, but Di Matteo is hopeful his team can change that course of history.

"At a club like Chelsea, the pressure is always on to win more trophies and have more success," the Italian said. "It just has proved impossible for anybody to win it twice. But we will try to do the impossible."

Juventus are on a good run of recent form © PA Photos
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Juventus, in contrast, will be playing in Europe's premier club competition for the first time since 2009, and it will be only their third Champions League campaign in seven seasons.

The Turin giants used to take a place in the competition for granted until the Italian match-fixing scandal consigned them to the wilderness, but they arrive in London on an incredible 42-game unbeaten run in Serie A, having not lost a single match on their way to last season's title.

And goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon insisted his team-mates had already proven they were big game players for both club and country.

"Before Chelsea won the Champions League, in the previous years, they were always the team to beat and they always failed," Buffon noted. "And then, when they started struggling, when they were in a declining phase, that's when they actually won the Champions League.

"What's beautiful about football is that it's not always the team that's considered the stronger one that's actually going to win.''

He added: "Obviously, we're an emerging team at the moment. We've got many young players but they're all coming up strongly.

"It's a team that's got a great future and, regardless of the fact that you definitely need experience in the Champions League, we also take into consideration that many of our players have also played international games with their national squad and they've got experience, confidence.

"So, in that respect, we think we're at a very good point at the moment.''

Chelsea player to watch: Eden Hazard has enjoyed a bright start to life in the Premier League, but he was not bought at such vast expense simply to beat up on the likes of Wigan. He was bought for the Champions League, and to make the difference against Europe's elite. With tournament experience behind him from his time at Lille, it will be interesting to see how he fares.

Juventus player to watch: Mirko Vucinic is the sort of forward John Terry dislikes playing against - which is to say, he relies more on movement than brute physicality for his goalscoring opportunities. The Montenegro international has been known to go missing against intimidating defenders, however, so will need to show a bit more resolve as he leads the line for his side.

Betting: Chelsea to be winning at half-time but drawing by full-time is an eye-catching 14/1 with bet365.

Prediction: 2-2.

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