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Terry can handle Arsenal fans' abuse, insists Di Matteo

The Italian is expecting his captain to be the boo-boys' focus on Saturday in light of the Football Association finding the 31-year-old guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand

Roberto Di Matteo is confident John Terry will be able to handle any abuse he receives from Arsenal fans when Chelsea travel to the Emirates Stadium.

The Blues captain has been fined £220,000 and handed a four-match ban by the Football Association after being found guilty of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, and is widely believed to be contemplating an appeal.

And Di Matteo is expecting the boo-boys to be out in force on Saturday, but is backing the 31-year-old to use his experience and cope with the hostile environment.

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“He’s an experienced player, playing many games before, difficult games under difficult circumstances and environments,” the Italian told reporters. “So if selected I don’t think there will be a problem.

“The spirit in the camp is good, we are in good shape, and good form. We are confident so we don’t really care too much the way the outside world, the external environment sees us, we have to focus on our strength, that’s the way we operate.

“It’s a big game every time Arsenal and Chelsea play each other. These are two teams in good form. I think it’s going to be an exciting game, I’m looking forward to it.”

Di Matteo also moved to dismiss speculation that Terry could be stripped of the club captaincy, insisting: “From our point of view there are no changes.”

In other news ahead of the Arsenal clash, the club have confirmed that Daniel Sturridge’s hamstring injury, which has ruled the striker out of the previous three games, has forced him out of consideration to face the Gunners.

However, Frank Lampard has recovered from a slight ankle knock to make the squad after sitting out Chelsea’s 6-0 win over Wolves in the League Cup third round.

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