Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo says John Terry is still central to his plans
Roberto Di Matteo said John Terry would remain a central figure at Stamford Bridge despite omitting the club captain from the most important game of the season so far and seeing his gamble pay off in the most dramatic fashion.
Chelsea’s defence of their title was in peril until the final stroke of added time against Shakhtar Donetsk, when Victor Moses headed a winner that had looked unlikely as the Ukrainian side repeatedly exposed the home side’s defence.
Di Matteo took one of the boldest decisions of his seventh-month tenure in leaving Terry on the bench, the first time since 2003 the club captain had not started a decisive European tie when fit.
The manager said he had acted because Terry was not 100 per cent match fit, having played just once for the first team in a month, the 2-1 defeat in Donetsk a fortnight ago that loaded this fixture with such significance.