Ramires credits Di Matteo with restoring respect at Chelsea

Chelsea midfielder Ramires has praised the club’s interim manager Roberto Di Matteo for helping the team regain its respect after an uncertain period under Andre Villas-Boas, the Independent has reported.

Speaking on the eve of the Champions League quarter-final second-leg against his former side Benfica, Ramires said: “We went through a tough period, obviously, and have taken strength from this change in the coach, found new confidence after the change, feeling more respect in ourselves.” The newspaper adds that Ramires was considered one of the players backing former manager Villas-Boas in a dressing room that had split down the middle, but the Brazilian international has admitted the atmosphere around the club has improved with the appointment of a new manager.

Ramires joined Chelsea from Benfica in 2009 for a fee marked by the Independent as £18m. Both Ramires and another former Benfica player, David Luiz, played in Chelsea’s 1-0 first-leg win in Lisbon’s Stadium of Light, with Ramires instrumental in creating Salomon Kalou’s winning goal. It was Ramires who found Fernando Torres on the right wing, allowing the Spaniard to beat a defender and cross for Kalou to convert.

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