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Oct 22, 2012

Di Matteo: No break for Terry

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo will not give John Terry a break from football following a tumultuous year for the player.

• Terry retains Chelsea captaincy

Terry, 31, sat out his side's 4-2 win over Tottenham on Saturday - the first game of his four-match ban imposed by the Football Association for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last October.

The ban follows on from a year that has seen the defender face civil and FA charges, as well as losing the England captaincy before retiring from international football altogether.

Terry has retained the Chelsea captaincy despite the FA's sanction and looks set to lead the Blues out in their Champions League clash in Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, with Di Matteo preferring not to give him a complete break from football altogether.

"No," Di Matteo said when asked if he had ever considered such an option.

"It has been a delicate issue and we are going to continue working with the authorities to eradicate discrimination.

"The board has made the final decision (to keep Terry as captain) and we can focus just on our football while keeping in mind that we have responsibilities to keep working towards a more respectful world.''

However, Di Matteo did choose to give Juan Mata a break earlier in the season after he had a busy summer playing in both Euro 2012 and the Olympics.

And the decision has proven to be a wise one, with Mata, 24, taking his goal tally to six in five after hitting a brace on Saturday - something which Di Matteo is delighted about.

"It was of vital importance that we gave him a break, mentally and physically,'' he said. "It was a good decision from the way he is playing. This last international break, when he wasn't selected, has given him another little breather.''

Mata was not selected for Spain's recent World Cup qualifier against Belarus but he insists his mind is totally focused on Chelsea.

"I don't know (whether anyone was watching from Spain). I just try to improve with every Chelsea game I play,'' Mata said. "I just wanted to do my best for my team and in this moment I am feeling really well.

"I had another chance for a goal but Fernando (Torres) was in a better position than me to score. But the most important thing for me was victory. Before the game we wanted to stay top of the league and we are still there.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report


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