Tough night for Di Matteo
Interim Chelsea first-team coach Roberto Di Matteo admitted his side made victory over Benfica more difficult than required.
Last Updated: 04/04/12 11:26pm
Interim Chelsea first-team coach Roberto Di Matteo admitted his side made victory over Benfica more difficult than required, but was convinced they deserved to reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
The Blues boasted a 1-0 lead heading into the quarter-final second leg at Stamford Bridge and looked to be cruising after Frank Lampard's first-half penalty was followed up by Maxi Pereira's 40th minute red card for two bookable offences.
However, Benfica, inspired by the excellent Pablo Aimar, attacked after the break and forced a nervy ending when Javi Garcia nodded home five minutes from time.
Raul Meireles netted in stoppage time to settle proceedings and set up a semi-final encounter with defending champions Barcelona, but Di Matteo knows it was a tough night.
"As I said yesterday in the press conference, we expected a difficult game, a hard game, and that proved to be it exactly," he said.
"We probably made it a little bit more difficult for ourselves by not scoring a second goal, especially in that second half with all those chances.
"That kept them alive and [gave them] hope that they would score a goal and still be in it.
"They moved the ball around very nicely. We didn't quite keep possession enough as we'd have liked to with the extra man.
"I think the team wasn't as sparkling as we were hoping it would be. Maybe they were a bit tired.
"But we're pleased to have won the game and gone through. We deserved it over the two legs."