Di Matteo delighted with strong Chelsea spirit

Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo has spoken of his joy about how strong the club’s spirit is following their late victory over relegation-threatened Wigan at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, chelseafc.com reports.

A last-minute goal from Juan Mata won the game for Chelsea, which extends Roberto di Matteo’s claims for the permanent job at Stamford Bridge. The Blues were lucky in their win with both their goals coming from offside positions, which Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was less than pleased about and slammed the referee’s assistant performance as ‘disgusting’. Di Matteo made changes from the midweek victory over Benfica, which sets up a Champions League semi-final with Barcelona, and believes that the spirit of the squad got them through a difficult task against the Latics on Saturday.

Di Matteo said: “Even though I tried to energise the team with a number of chances, in the first half, we didn’t really get into the game. The intensity was low and the passing was slow and there is always that concern when we pla midweek. It shows the personality in this group and that the spirit, belief and the confidence are strong, because even when we concede, we react to it.”

The Blues face West London rivals Fulham on Monday looking to close the gap on fourth placed Tottenham, who are currently three points ahead of Chelsea. Di Matteo will assess the availability of captain John Terry, as well as experienced players Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage. The Italian is hopeful that his captain will be back in the heart of defence and Di Matteo wants his players to continue digging deep in order to reach their targets, with the club still in the FA Cup semi-finals and the race for fourth place.

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