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Di Matteo backs Chelsea players to succeed

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By Bryan Waters

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Chelsea interim manager Roberto di Matteo has called on his squad to produce a high-quality performance against Benfica, chelseafc.com reports.

The Blues are the last English side left in the Champions League, but needed an extra-time winner from Branislav Ivanovic against Napoli to progress to the quarter-finals. Chelsea face up to Benfica, who topped their group stage at the expense of Manchester United, and Di Matteo is not underestimating the quality of the Portuguese side. The Italian is concentrated on improving a disappointing season so far and believes that getting through to the Champions League semi-finals gives them a chance of resurrecting their season.

Di Matteo said: “We have had a difficult season, the numbers say that, so it is no point denying it. We have a lot of quality, many good players, and I still think this Chelsea team is a very good team. Chelsea is used to being in the top two or three, but we are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the semi-finals of the FA Cup, and I have a lot of faith in this team.”

Against Napoli, the Blues were poor in their away leg and Di Matteo will make it his main focus to make sure they have the best chance to go through in the second leg at Stamford Bridge. If Chelsea progress past a tough Benfica side, they could have the chance to face current Champions League holders Barcelona. The Blues faced Pep Guardiola’s side in the semi-final in 2009, but were beaten by a late Andres Iniesta goal, something they will be keen to erase.

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