Each Chelsea win gives us more belief, says Roberto Di Matteo
Chelsea interim boss Roberto Di Matteo says his side are slowing finding the confidence that escaped them during a difficult spell
Roberto Di Matteo believes his Chelsea side are gradually rediscovering the confidence that has escaped them during a turbulent season for the Blues.
The Stamford Bridge interim boss has led the west Londoners to three successive victories since he was placed in charge following Andre Villas-Boas’s dismissal.
Their dramatic Champions League triumph over Napoli on Wednesday has set up a quarter-final clash with Benfica, and a potential semi-final tie with either Barcelona or AC Milan.
And the Italian coach has been delighted with his side’s character since he assumed temporary charge.
“I think every win gives you a little bit of confidence,” he told a news conference on Friday ahead of the FA Cup quarter-final with Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
“We won against Birmingham and then we won against Stoke [which was] another difficult one. Then we won [against Napoli] the other night and it brings a little bit of belief back into the team and the players.”
Di Matteo revealed that he has been taking the time to speak to each player individually in a bid to rally his troops ahead of the business end of the season – but refused to discuss whether he thinks that kind of approach was lacking during Villas-Boas’s reign.
He continued: “[I’ve spoken] to the players individually, trying to focus them on the next task and trying to make them aware of what our targets are and to bring a little bit of that team spirit and passion for the game back.
“I’m not going to go back to the past. I’m looking forward to the future. We just have to get results and that’s what we’re focusing on.”
The Blues coach also admitted it is a blessing to have a fully fit squad of players to choose from with such crucial games looming large.
“It’s a very difficult schedule,” he added. “This morning we got the players back [in training] to focus on the next game [against] Leicester in the FA Cup.
“We’ve seen how difficult it’s proving so far, our path in the FA Cup. With Birmingham we had a replay, so we have to be aware that we need to perform again at a very high level to be able to go through.
“Luckily we have everybody fit, the whole squad. We will need everybody and I’m pleased [because] it’s difficult to leave certain players out for some games. But we have such an intense schedule that it’s great to be in a position like this.”
And Di Matteo laughed off suggestions that Fernando Torres appeared disinterested in the on-pitch celebrations following Chelsea’s triumph over Napoli on Wednesday.
“He’s very happy. He was pleased for the team and for himself and everybody else. There was a good atmosphere on the pitch after the game and in the dressing room, too.”