Benfica 0 Chelsea 1: We couldn’t have hoped for better – Di Matteo
Chelsea interim boss Roberto Di Matteo hails his side's "terrific" display after Salomon Kalou nets 75th-minute winner at Benfica
Roberto Di Matteo could not hide his delight after Chelsea secured a valuable Champions League quarter-final victory at Benfica thanks to Salomon Kalou’s second-half goal in Lisbon.
The Blues produced an assured performance at Estádio da Luz and snatched the vital away goal when Fernando Torres picked out Kalou with a low cross to leave the Ivory Coast forward with the simplest of finishes.
“It’s terrific, you couldn’t have hoped for a better result,” Di Matteo told Sky Sports after the game.
“I told you before the game we would need to score and we went close on a number of occasions, and then to keep a clean sheet as well – another one – I think we looked defensively very, very good again.
“We never looked in any danger. They obviously had some set-plays where they were dangerous because they are a physical, big side but, apart from that, I think Petr [Cech] had a few saves to make but they were mostly long-range.”
Di Matteo was especially pleased with his side’s energy levels after a weary-looking Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Tottenham at the weekend.
“For 90 minutes we had to run, challenge and win tackles, and it was important as I knew that they were playing at a high tempo,” he continued.
“The fact that we’re playing all of these teams, it’s important that we try to select a team that has the energy to be able to be competitive.”
“I’m working with the players and they deserve all the credit they get because we’ve got a lot of stick this season.
“They’ve been fantastic with me, for me, and all they’re doing, they’re doing it for themselves, for the club and for our supporters – and our supporters tonight have been magnificent, as well.”