The Blues find themselves in a precarious position in Group E as they play host to the Ukrainian champions, knowing anything less than a win will seriously harm their chances of advancing to the knockout stage.
The Italian manager has billed the encounter at Stamford Bridge as their biggest since last season’s final, which they won, and knows that they will need to produce a similarly spirited display to get all three points against the Eastern Europeans:
“There are some comparisons certainly to last season, when we had must-win games. Tomorrow is another like that.” He said.
“Fortunately, we have players with the experience who have been through that before.
“We have to play the perfect game tomorrow to beat Shakhtar, but we’re strong at home. We’ve shown that over many years, and we’ll be fired up for this game to win it.”
The Londoners were outplayed in Donetsk two weeks ago as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat.
Di Matteo guided the club he once played for to Champions League victory last season, taking over following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas.
Stunning victories over Napoli, Benfica, Valencia and Barcelona allowed them to reach the final, where they overcame Bayern Munich to claim the trophy.