Di Matteo brands Chelsea Champions League defence as impossible

Roberto Di Matteo believes holding on to the Champions League will be even more difficult than winning it in the first place, as Chelsea prepare for the defence of their trophy with a home match against the champions of Italy, Juventus, the Daily Mail has reported.

The Chelsea manager added that rather than being the underdogs as they were for much of the previous campaign, Chelsea are now the team everyone wants to beat – and that goes for the Premier League too.

Di Matteo said: “Every opposition is going to play with extra motivation against the holders. I’m aware no team has defended the trophy and I’m not surprised because it’s such a difficult trophy to win.” He added that he imagined Mark Hughes used the prospect of beating the Champions League winners as motivation for his Queens Park Rangers side in their league meeting on Saturday.

Juventus go into the contest on the back of a 3-1 away win at Genoa on Sunday, the points coming by virtue of goals from Emanuele Giaccherini, Mirko Vucinic and Kwadwo Asamoah after Genoa had taken an early lead.

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