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Chelsea dig in for critical Shakhtar tie

Roberto Di Matteo hopes experience of "must-win games" in Europe will put Chelsea FC in good stead for FC Shakhtar Donetsk's visit, with Mircea Lucescu eyeing another victory.

Chelsea dig in for critical Shakhtar tie
Chelsea dig in for critical Shakhtar tie ©UEFA.com

Having come through some difficult scrapes to win last season's UEFA Champions League, Chelsea FC manager Roberto Di Matteo hopes that never-say-die spirit will show in a crucial Group E home game against FC Shakhtar Donetsk, whose coach Mircea Lucescu can feel the confidence coursing through his table-topping squad.

Roberto Di Matteo, manager
I think there are some comparisons to last season, when we had must-win games. Fortunately we have players that have experience and have been there before. I think we need to play a perfect game to be able to win against Shakhtar because they are a good side. But we are strong at home – we've shown that over many, many years and I think we'll be fired up for this game.

We need to be at our best. The way they went to Turin and played there [Shakhtar drew 1-1 at Juventus] showed what type of confidence they have. But we are a very good team and I think we need to show that – put them under pressure and try to score the goals that we need to win the game. Every player that is on the pitch needs to be able to perform at the highest of their ability. In Donetsk, the early goal helped them massively – it allowed them to play on the counterattack rather than breaking us down. So I think it's important that we start well and get the crowd behind us and draw confidence from a good start.

Weekend result
Saturday: Swansea City AFC 1-1 Chelsea (Hernández
88; Moses 61)
Čech; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanović, Cole; Mikel, Romeu (Ramires 46); Moses (Sturridge 73), Oscar (Bertrand 80), Hazard; Torres.

• Victor Moses marked his first league start for Chelsea with the opening goal as the west Londoners failed to win a league game for the third time this season.

Team news
Ashley Cole has been ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained at the weekend, while Frank Lampard remains absent with a calf strain picked up on matchday three. Di Matteo was waiting for Tuesday's final training session to decide on the fitness of Juan Mata (hamstring) and David Luiz (ankle).

Mircea Lucescu, coach
We have prepared well. We are in good form too. Our players are also thinking of this game as a very important match for us – for the three points, for remaining at this level. It's not every year you can play against teams like Juventus or Chelsea. I prepare my players knowing very well that absolutely all teams can be beaten – even Chelsea at home.

I don't want to talk about 'what if'. It is going to be a very good game tomorrow – yes Chelsea have to win, Di Matteo has already said that it will be one of the biggest games for Chelsea since the final. When you play in the Champions League, each match is very important. Chelsea are a very strong team, but we are not the weakest.

Weekend result
Saturday: Shakhtar 2-0 FC Metalurh Zaporizhya (Costa 21pen, Adriano 82)

Kanibolotskiy; Srna, Rakitskiy, Kucher, Raţ; Stepanenko, Fernandinho, Ilsinho, Costa (Adriano 60), Dentinho (Willian 60); Dević (Teixeira 60).

• Goalkeeper Anton Kanibolotskiy made his Shakhtar debut as Lucescu's side notched their 23rd successive top-flight victory – a Ukrainian Premier League record. They are the first team to win their first 14 games of a Ukrainian top-tier season and their run of scoring in each of their last 33 league matches is also a national record.

Team news
Shakhtar took a 20-man squad to London and have reported no injuries in the build-up to this fixture.

Match fact
The game in Donetsk was the first time Chelsea had met opponents from Ukraine, while all the English clubs Shakhtar have faced were based in London.