Di Matteo sticks up for Chelsea
Roberto Di Matteo launched a robust defence of the quality of his Chelsea squad after Frank Lampard claimed he and his team-mates were "not as good as we used to be".
Lampard used the club's in-house television channel to deliver a withering assessment of the Blues' season, which sees them in real danger of failing to qualify for the Champions League. Caretaker manager Di Matteo admitted Chelsea - who are five points adrift of the Barclays Premier League top four - had endured a turbulent campaign.
"The numbers say that, so there is no point in denying it's been a difficult season," he said. "But we have quality in this team and many good players. I still think this Chelsea team is a very good team."
Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Benfica, and with Chelsea England's sole remaining European representative, Di Matteo added: "Chelsea used to be in the top two or top three, at least. So it's been hard for us, domestically.
"But we're in the semi-finals of a domestic cup, and in the quarter-finals of the Champions League."
Lampard also admitted Chelsea had allowed their intensity level to drop since their historic last-16 comeback to beat Napoli.
Di Matteo added: "I have faith in this team. They've shown they can play at high intensity at a high level, so I'm looking forward to my team doing that again tomorrow.
"I am positive about the team, but my players are positive too.
"We have great belief in our abilities. That's what we're going to try and express tomorrow."