Roberto Di Matteo says Chelsea need more defence

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 November, 2012, 3:16am


Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo has hinted strongly that his team may abandon their attacking style in favour of a more defensive mentality after their 2-1 loss at West Bromwich Albion.

He is concerned by his team's slump in form after seeing the European champions take just two points from four games.

And with a crucial Champions League game against Juventus in Turin tomorrow followed by a Premier League meeting with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge at the weekend, Di Matteo says it is time to tighten up.

Chelsea's midfield trio of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard have been lauded for their contribution to the team's style. But one of them may be sacrificed as Di Matteo's plans for Turin revert back towards the more miserly approach he utilised to land the club's first Champions League title in May.

"We have played differently this season, but we might have to go a little bit tighter to win games and make sure we don't concede," he said. "Maybe it is time to change it and get a win. We have massive games coming up, but we have players with a lot of experience in these situations.

"We cannot rely on scoring three goals to win a game. Sometimes you need to be able to win 1-0. We will look at the set-up of the team and maybe sacrifice a little of the attacking options."

Di Matteo chose to leave Mata, Oscar and Ramires out of his starting line-up against Albion, but rejected claims he was saving them for the Juventus clash.

Instead, he said their midweek globe-trotting to play international matches with Spain and Brazil had shaped his thoughts. All three came off the bench in the second half as Chelsea fought to retrieve a 2-1 deficit.

Shane Long fired West Brom into an early lead before Eden Hazard levelled just before half-time. Long then set up Peter Odemwingie for the winner before Albion keeper Boaz Myhill twice denied Daniel Sturridge an equaliser.

Albion coach Steve Clarke savoured victory over the club where he was a player and coach for 15 years, but had a special word for Long, who opted to play after receiving news of the death of his grandmother. "He wanted to play and that is the measure of him," said Clarke, whose side now sit fourth in the standings.