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Chelsea pair in race against time

11 May 2012 19:06

Chelsea defenders Gary Cahill and David Luiz have been ruled out of this weekend’s Premier League clash against Blackburn Rovers.

The pair will be the only recognised centre-backs available for the club's Champions League final later in May due to the suspensions of Branislav Ivanovic and John Terry.

Interim manager Roberto Di Matteo revealed the duo are still not in group training but is hopeful they will not be sidelined much longer.

"Now we're trying our hardest working towards next Saturday in the hope they'll be in the group training next week," the Italian told reporters.

The Blues host Steve Kean’s already-relegated side at Stamford Bridge on Sunday with sixth place their guaranteed final position, and Di Matteo revealed his coaches tried to get Luiz ready in time for the game but failed.

"We tried, but he wasn't ready so now we're trying for the last game," he said.

"It's difficult to give it as a percentage (chance of appearing in the Champions League final).

"They're at similar stages - not available for Sunday, and next week we'll push them to be available for the group.

"They've been out three or four weeks, not like three or four months. We have to push them as hard as we can."

Cahill is a major contender for England’s Euro 2012 squad if fit but the Blues boss stressed he would not feature at the tournament if he does not fully recover before the end of May.

"We need to think about ourselves and what the club's interests are," he said.

"If he's fine, he'll be available. If he's not, he won't be. As simple as that."

Di Matteo paid tribute to embattled Blackburn boss Kean, and said the Scot showed character in the way he has handled the club this season.

"It is a difficult situation when you are fighting against relegation and (Kean) must have a hard skin to have been able to deal with all the criticism he has received, but it is hard when you are down there," he said.

"It is not for me to judge the reaction of the Blackburn fans. I always believe that the supporters of the team have a right to give their opinion."

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