Roberto Di Matteo calm over Chelsea defensive crisis

Di Matteo remains calm in the face of Chelsea defensive crisis for grudge match with rivals QPR

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UPDATED:

14:33 GMT, 27 April 2012

Chelsea are suffering a defensive crisis as they head into the west London derby against Queens Park Rangers with only one recognised centre-back in their squad.

Roberto Di Matteo confirmed that David Luiz and Gary Cahill will miss Sunday's clash with hamstring injuries, while Branislav Ivanovic sees out the third match from a three-game ban.

John Terry is the only central defender available – but he should be fresh after his early dismissal against Barcelona in Chelsea's midweek Champions League semi-final victory.

Tribulations: John Terry will be ready to face QPR

Tribulations: John Terry will be ready to face QPR

Di Matteo said the Blues captain is in the right frame of mind to play, despite his indiscretion on Wednesday.

'I don't think that's going to influence him,' he said. 'John Terry is fine and ready for Sunday's game like the rest of the team, he has dealt with setbacks in the past. He'll be very good.'

The Italian added: 'It's a shame players will miss the CL final, once you qualify for a final you know you will face strong opposition.'

The two sides are local rivals anyway but there is added animosity between Terry and QPR's players, who were considering snubbing his handshake due to the race row between the Chelsea defender and Anton Ferdinand.

Terry allegedly racially abused the Rangers player, when they met on October 23 at Loftus Road, and the court date for the incident has been adjourned until July 9. Terry denies the charges.

Carefree: Di Matteo will take Chelsea's defensive crisis in his stride

Carefree: Di Matteo will take Chelsea's defensive crisis in his stride

Both Michael Essien and Paulo Ferreira have played in a blue shirt at the heart of the Chelsea defence before during other tough periods, but neither were convincing there.

Against the Catalan side Jose Bosingwa replaced Cahill and performed admirably as Chelsea progressed to the final, but Di Matteo will not enjoy having to select the full-back there from the outset against QPR.

Di Matteo tipped his hat to his Barcelona counterpart, who announced on Friday he was leaving his post at the end of the season.

'Guardiola is a fantastic person, he has had tremendous success, but has decided what's best for him and his career,' Di Matteo said.

Beyond the defensive crisis the Italian has a full squad to choose from, although he is likely to rest some of the players who featured in midweek.

Grudge match: Terry will come face to face with Anton Ferdinand

Grudge match: Terry will come face to face with Anton Ferdinand

Di Matteo said: 'We take it game by game, will try to win Sunday to keep our hopes alive of finishing in the top four, it will be tough.'

There has been a clamour for him to be offered a full-time managerial post, but Chelsea's interim boss would not be pressed on his future.

'My future is irrelevant at this stage, the spirit of the players is what's important – we need to finish the season successfully.'

With the chance of a top four finish, an FA Cup final and the Champions League final to come, Di Matteo has a great chance of doing so.

Top finish: Chelsea could end the season with two trophies and a Champions League spot next year

Top finish: Chelsea could end the season with two trophies and a Champions League spot next year