Di Matteo hits out at FA

Chelsea boss believes semi-final concerns were ignored

Roberto Di Matteo: Chelsea manager unimpressed with timing of FA Cup semi-final

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Roberto Di Matteo has hit out at the Football Association for ignoring Chelsea's concerns about the timing of their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham.

Di Matteo hit out at the FA as the Blues officially conceded defeat in their bid to get next weekend's match at Wembley played earlier than at 6pm on Sunday.

Chelsea's interim manager had originally been hoping to get the game moved to next Friday and was "angry and disappointed" at learning of the late kick-off three days before the club's UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona.

Advantage

He was just as irate on Friday afternoon, saying: "I'm very disappointed that common sense hasn't prevailed in this.

"Obviously, they didn't take into consideration anything that we said."

Roberto Di Matteo

Quotes of the week

"Obviously, they didn't take into consideration anything that we said.

"Barca will have one more day to recover than us and it might give them a little advantage."

Barca may also enjoy an advantage ahead of the second leg at Camp Nou if Spanish authorities agree to bring forward their 'El Clasico' match with Real Madrid from Sunday, 22nd April.

Di Matteo added: "Other federations are very helpful. The English federation hasn't seemed very helpful in our case."

Liverpool will feature in the other FA Cup semi-final next Saturday because they have been given permission not to play on the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster.

Gesture

Chelsea felt a gesture should be made in their own case to help them in their quest for Champions League glory and wanted their match to kick-off at least five hours earlier than 6pm.

They argued the current start time runs the risk of rival fans taking advantage of all-day drinking laws ahead of what is a derby.

They also contended that the prospect of the match finishing after 9pm if it goes to extra-time and penalties may deter families attending, with the majority of nearby schools reopening the following day after the Easter holidays.

In addition, there are rail engineering works that day which would make getting home from Wembley more difficult for some supporters living in the south-west area of London.