Didier Drogba looks set to be fit for the second leg of Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League semi-final against Barcelona after training on Sunday.
The striker was ruled out of Saturday’s goalless draw at Arsenal with a knee problem he sustained in the first-leg victory over Barcelona.
Roberto Di Mateo was not sure whether he would be available for Tuesday’s trip to Camp Nou but the Ivory Coast international has now provided the Blues with a boost by taking part in their latest training session.
If Drogba is fully fit for the next match he is likely to come straight back into the side, after proving a handful for the Spaniards at Stamford Bridge.
Drogba scored the only goal of the game to give Chelsea a narrow 1-0 lead at the halfway stage of their eagerly-anticipated European tie.
Barca are sure to be fired up for the return match and Di Matteo took the decision to rest a number of his key men against Arsenal, with only Petr Cech, John Terry and Gary Cahill keeping their places in the team.
Chelsea’s tactics in the first leg received a lot of criticism but Di Matteo insists the defensive display was their only hope of avoiding a drubbing.
“It is about winning, yes,” he said. “Everybody seems to have an opinion about ourselves. We just have to try to do our job.
“We live in free country, don’t we, in a country where everybody has freedom of speech.”
Some of the fiercest criticism came from Italy, with Di Matteo’s former manager at international level, Arrigo Sacchi, saying of Chelsea’s win: “Di Matteo has won, but football has lost”.
Di Matteo said: “I know Arrigo very well and I know his philosophy of football.
“He is probably closer to the Barca style but, ultimately, we have to look at ourselves and what’s the best way for us to win and go through.”
He added: “You know how many players, how many teams and managers have tried with different tactics to play against Barcelona?
“They will always create chances, whatever you do, because of the sheer quality that they have in the team, the individual quality between the players.
“They’ve got top players, more than one of the best players in the world in their team.”
Chelsea beat Barca despite having just 28 per cent possession and one shot on target.
Di Matteo said: “Many other clubs did exactly the same against Barca. But we managed to win.”
He added: “I looked at the games that they played against other big clubs, like AC Milan, Real Madrid, Man United.
“The stats just tell you that Barcelona will have majority of the possession, a lot of possession against you.
“You might have a little bit more than the other teams I’ve just mentioned, but ultimately everybody gets little chances, everybody has a very limited amount of attempts.”