Roberto Di Matteo
ROBERTO Di Matteo has asked to be judged on his whole time as Chelsea caretaker, not just last night's humiliating 4-1 defeat at Liverpool.
The Blues began the match at Anfield with only the slimmest mathematical chance of qualifying for the Premier League's fourth Champions League slot.
They were reliant on winning both their remaining fixtures, plus final-day results for Tottenham and Newcastle.
But Di Matteo chose to select a team made-up mostly of players suspended for the Champions League final, and those from the fringes of his squad.
He said: “We still had a chance, with two games to go, to qualify for fourth spot. We were depending on other results as well, but you know we've always needed everybody (in the squad) to be able to come so far.
“You know how demanding it has been for us., I thought tonight that by putting a team that was energetic and fresh – mentally and physically – would give us a better chance.
“It was a similar display at Arsenal, with a lot of the players that played tonight, and we have been using the strength that we have in this team to be able to be here today – with still a mathematical chance.
“We've lost many points during the whole season: you don't just look at today, you need to be objective about 37 games.”
Despite courageous performances in the FA Cup and Champions League, Chelsea have struggled under Di Matteo since he took charge of their league campaign, winning just four out of 10 games.
The interim first team coach blamed tiredness, saying: “We've played every three days. In the last eight weeks it was our 19th game.”