Di Matteo lauds spirit
Roberto Di Matteo has praised Chelsea's team spirit after their dramatic 5-4 aggregate defeat of Napoli in the Champions League.
By Tom Mallows
Last Updated: 15/03/12 10:41am
Chelsea caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo has praised his side's team spirit after their dramatic 5-4 aggregate defeat of Napoli in the UEFA Champions League.
In a night of drama at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea roared into a 2-0 lead thanks to John Terry and Didier Drogba, erasing the 3-1 deficit from the first leg in Italy three weeks ago.
Gokhan Inler's spectacular half-volley gave Napoli the advantage once more before Frank Lampard's penalty sent the game into extra time.
Defender Branislav Ivanovic proved to be the unlikely hero, smashing home Chelsea's fourth of the night on the brink of half-time in extra time to seal a thrilling 5-4 victory and send the Premier League side through to the last eight.
Speaking after the match, Di Matteo praised his side's resilience, especially after conceding Inler's goal midway through the second half.
"We knew before the game that we needed a big performance, the whole team," the Italian told Sky Sports.
"We showed tonight that we care and we have the passion and quality and we've got the team spirit. That's what we needed tonight to go through to the next round.
"Mentally, I think we reacted very, very well, because it was a big blow [to concede the goal] but we kept going.
"I was always confident we were going to score another goal and maybe take it to penalties.
"But fortunately we scored a fourth goal which I'm very pleased about and we managed to win the game."
Tie-winner Ivanovic was quick to praise his team-mates despite his extra-time heroics, praising the players' attitude prior to kick-off.
"We felt before the game that we could do it," said the Serbia defender. "We started the game very strong.
"It helped to score the first goal in the first half, which was very important and gave us extra confidence.
"These kinds of goals can change a lot of things for the team and gives the lads extra confidence [going forward].
"We tried to do everything and we qualified, that's the main thing."