Chelsea failed to sparkle against Benfica, admits Di Matteo

Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo has admitted his side had to grind out their win over Benfica in the Champions League quarter-final, with Yahoo Sports reporting that the Blues boss agreed Chelsea failed to sparkle.

A Frank Lampard penalty and late Raul Meireles solo effort gave Chelsea a 2-1 win on the night and a 3-1 win on aggregate, with Javi Garcia’s second-half goal giving Benfica hope before substitute Meireles sealed the game late on. Benfica went down to 10 men in the first-half when full-back Maxi Pereira was sent off but Chelsea toiled despite their numerical advantage.

Di Matteo is quoted as saying: “I think the team wasn’t as sparkling as we were hoping it would be. Maybe they were a bit tired, but we’re pleased to have won the game and gone through. We deserved it over the two legs.

The match was came after Chelsea played nine games in 28 days through March, and heralded the start of an April that will be just as busy, not least over the Easter weekend when Chelsea play Wigan Athletic at home on Saturday and then near-neighbours Fulham on Monday, the first two of seven more games this month.

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