All-Star: Chelsea set to give players more minutes vs. MLS

Roberto Di Matteo - DT de Chelsea FC

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NEW YORK – If there is still a lingering belief that Chelsea do not intend to take their Wednesday match against the MLS All-Stars seriously, head coach Roberto Di Matteo dispelled that notion on Sunday.

Following Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain in the first soccer game played at the new Yankee Stadium, Di Matteo made it clear he does not intend to use as many substitutions as he has in the Blues’ first two games of their preseason tour of the United States. The Blues made a large number of changes in both Sunday’s tie and last Wednesday’s 4-2 win against the Seattle Sounders, But that apparently will not be the case when Frank Lampard, John Terry and David Luiz visit PPL Park on Wednesday.

“We need to consider the fact that some players have only came back into training on Wednesday and they’ve also had to travel,” Di Matteo told reporters after Sunday’s game. “That’s why tonight I gave seven players 60 minutes and four players [in] the first game 60 minutes. I’m going to try and increase the minutes and we won’t have many substitutions on Wednesday, so I’m planning for some players to hopefully get more minutes.”

As for the formation the UEFA Champions League winners will use? All indications point to Chelsea likely continuing with the 4-4-2 formation they used on Sunday. Chelsea had mixed success with that setup against PSG, struggling to create chances in a first half that saw them go down while looking a much more dangerous and dynamic side in a closing 45 minutes in which they equalized.

Still, Di Matteo is keen on continuing to fine-tune that formation ahead of the Premiership campaign.

“It’s a shape that we’ve used at the end of last season as well and it’s served us well,” said Di Matteo. “We’re trying two shapes in practice as well for eventualities when we need it. It also depends on the players that we have available.”

Di Matteo also briefly touched on his preparations for the match against the MLS All-Stars. He said he plans on brushing up on some of the players’ styles and tendencies, but that ultimately he is focused on Chelsea imposing themselves in their latest preseason test.

“We look at the players that we have and the positions that they play,” said Di Matteo. “But it’s mostly about what we try to do against them.”

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.