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Chelsea focus on FA Cup after Champions League turnaround

posted 16 Mar 2012, 09:59 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 16 Mar 2012, 10:00 ]

Chelsea caretake manager Roberto Di Matteo hopes to add victory against Leicester in the FA Cup to keep his perfect record after the departure of Andre Villas Boas.

Caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo said on Friday (March 16) Chelsea will be facing "tough opponents" after they were drawn against Benfica in the Champions League quarter-finals.
"When you to the last eight teams every draw is very difficult," the Italian told reporters on Friday (March 16).

"I have seen Benfica many times as they were in the Manchester United and Basel group. It is a tough opponents for us. I think the fact that we play the first game away from home is good - a little bit like the Napoli game," Di Matteo added.

The Londoners, who overcame Napoli 5-4 on aggregate in midweek to become the only English team remaining in the Champions League, will face Leicester in the sixth round of the FA Cup on Sunday (May 18).

Chelsea, trying to lift the FA Cup for the fourth time in six years, seem to have an easier task against Leicester although they nearly came unstuck against another Championship outfit, Birmingham City, in the previous round.

The 2010 winners needed a replay to progress against Birmingham with Juan Mata keeping up his record of scoring in every round of this year's competition.

"This morning we got the players focusing on the next game Leicester in the FA Cup," Di Matteo said. "We have all seen how difficult is has proven so far our path ion the FA Cup. With Birmingham we had a replay so we have to be aware that we need to perform again at the very high level to be able to go through because the FA Cup you know is exciting because you have always to expect the unexpectable."

Chelsea have been a side transformed since Andre Villas Boas was replaced by Di Matteo, who have won all three matches since taking over from the Portuguese on March 4.

Suddenly, from the look of a club in turmoil, Chelsea are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the last eight of the FA Cup and are in the mood to fight for a top-four spot in the Premier League, even if the title dream is long gone.

According to Di Matteo, the 4-1 second leg victory over Napoli gave Chelsea "a little bit of belief."

Chelsea's three vastly experienced generals, skipper John Terry at the heart of the defence, Didier Drogba marauding up front and Frank Lampard's masterful in midfield, all produced performances that

were all too rare under Villas-Boas.

When Terry was replaced, he stayed on the bench shouting instructions alonsgside Di Matteo and raising speculation that the captain one day would become the Chelsea boss.

"I think he is still too young for that. I think he still has many years in him to play. I can help him with his coaching badges maybe first but he got so many years ahead of him playing and I will always recommend to any player to play as long as they can because it is the best part of a football career - playing," Di Matteo said.