Di Matteo may drop Torres for Chelsea's crucial Juventus test
Daniel Sturridge could get the nod up front as Chelsea try to shake off their recent bad run
UNDER-PRESSURE Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo may drop £50m flop Fernando Torres from the Chelsea team to face Juventus in crucial Champions League tie in Turin tonight.
Although a victory would send them into the knockout stages, a defeat in Italy would leave Chelsea on the brink of becoming the first European champions to go out in the group stage of the competition.
Such is the signifiance of the match that Di Matteo may be forced to abandon the "swashbuckling approach which has won Chelsea many admirers this season but cost them so dearly at times," says The Daily Telegraph. "It is no exaggeration to say Di Matteo's decisions could have a profound effect on his prospects of keeping the job he so richly deserved as a reward for ending Chelsea's wait for European Cup glory."
Chelsea have won only two of their last seven games in all competitions and Torres has shown few signs of growing into the role of Chelsea spearhead now that Didier Drogba has left the club, and Daniel Sturridge could take his place up front.
"Dropping the £50m British record signing would still constitute a considerable risk, particularly given the hierarchy's potential reaction should it backfire and Chelsea lose," notes The Guardian. "But Di Matteo is conscious that, in the absence of experienced players such as Frank Lampard and John Terry, something has to be done to shrug his team out of their lethargy."
The Times reports that the players are still backing the manager despite the post-match dressing room row after the defeat against West Brom at the weekend.
But the paper notes that Di Matteo will have more on his mind than how to address the Torres situation. "In the absence of John Terry, the manager must also decide whether to select David Luiz or Branislav Ivanovic alongside [Gary] Cahill in central defence, while he is believed to be considering dropping one of Eden Hazard or Oscar, both signed for princely sums in the summer, in favour of the more defensively minded Ryan Bertrand."