The Blues begin the defence of their title tonight as the Italian champions Juventus visit Stamford Bridge. Chelsea know the chances of them being able to keep their European title is slim, as no team has managed to successfully defend the Champions League since its inception in 1992. The last club to win two European titles consecutively were the great Milan side of 1989-1991.
Di Matteo however, is realistic about his side’s chances this season: “The Champions League has proved impossible for anybody to win twice in a row but we will try to do the impossible.
“The competition is fierce and every season strong new teams come into the tournament, like Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.”
Although Chelsea have been drawn in a group that contains the champions from Denmark, Italy and Ukraine, they are still expected to progress into the knockout stages of the competition comfortably. However, Di Matteo still expects some tough games ahead: “We have three national champions in our group and the competition this year is probably even stronger than last season.”
The Chelsea manager, who has enjoyed a successful start to the campaign, was full of praise for tonight’s opponents.
“Juventus are a very strong team. They had a fantastic unbeaten run throughout Serie A last season, and they have the quality, experienced and dynamic players in their team.
“They are probably one of the most difficult teams you can be drawn against at this stage in the Champions League,” he added.
Chelsea’s last encounter with Juventus in the Champions League saw the English side progress to the quarter-finals of the competition with a 3-2 aggregate victory over the current Italian champions. Goals from Michael Essien and Didier Drogba that night helped set up a quarter-final tie against Liverpool.