Gourlay hails improved Blues
Ron Gourlay has saluted the efforts of Roberto Di Matteo and his players after Chelsea secured a semi-final meeting with Barcelona.
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp
Last Updated: 05/04/12 9:09am
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay has saluted the efforts of Roberto Di Matteo and his players after the Blues secured a UEFA Champions League semi-final meeting with Barcelona.
Di Matteo was placed in interim charge of the Stamford Bridge club for the remainder of the season at the start of March after Andre Villas-Boas was axed only eight months into his tenure with the Premier League side.
And the Italian has overseen a remarkable upturn in fortunes, guiding the previously struggling West London club into the semi-finals of the Champions League, FA Cup and back into contention for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Chelsea have won seven of their nine games with former midfielder Di Matteo at the helm, with Wednesday night's 3-1 aggregate success over Benfica the latest triumph secured by a side previously regarded to be lacking direction.
Gourlay, one of the men who will be tasked by owner Roman Abramovich with appointing a permanent manager, told Sky Sports News HD: "It is a fantastic achievement.
"If you consider where we found ourselves just a couple of months ago, to achieve what we have done in the last eight or nine games has been a fantastic turnaround and great credit to everybody involved with the club."
When pressed on whether Di Matteo deserved particular praise for his efforts at the helm following Villas-Boas' departure, he added: "I think it is a team effort. Everybody has pulled their weight.
"We sat down and analysed the whole situation and I think we have seen the results. Everyone has stepped up to the bar.
"We just have to take one game at a time and see where we can go from here until the end of the season."
Captain John Terry echoed Gourlay's sentiments that the club's recent revival has been particularly heartening, although he admitted they were not at their best in the 2-1 home success against the Portuguese club.
Terry told Sky Sports News HD: "If you think where we were a couple of months ago, we would certainly take where we are. We are delighted that we're through.
"We didn't play as well as we could have done, but we did the job. We were a little nervous in the last 10 minutes, but it was a good performance all round."
Striker Didier Drogba now has his sights set on success over the reigning European champions to set up a meeting with either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, whose Allianz Arena will stage the final on 19th May.
Drogba added: "What really matters is to win it. It is going to be difficult, but I hope we can beat Barcelona and be in the final again in Munich."