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Di Matteo hails Chelsea's never-say-die attitude

Published: Wednesday 25 April 2012, 0.10CET
Roberto Di Matteo admitted tactics went out of the window as ten-man Chelsea FC held off FC Barcelona to reach the Munich final, giving way to pure "passion, pride and desire".

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Published: Wednesday 25 April 2012, 0.10CET

Di Matteo hails Chelsea's never-say-die attitude

Roberto Di Matteo admitted tactics went out of the window as ten-man Chelsea FC held off FC Barcelona to reach the Munich final, giving way to pure "passion, pride and desire".

Josep Guardiola, Barcelona coach
The players are obviously very down. The key moment was when Ramires scored just before the break; that hurt us psychologically. We did everything to win, not just tonight but over the two legs. We had chances to score more goals here, and a penalty too. But it wasn't enough.

We have done very well in the tournament over the past four years but some you win, some you lose; that's the beauty of sport.
Josep Guardiola
The second half wasn't so much about tactics as passion, pride and desire to get to the final. We knew we were just 45 minutes away
Roberto Di Matteo

It was difficult to get through them. They played with many across the back so we tried to get at them from wide areas. It's not easy. It is something we will have to look hard it, how to break teams down. It reminded me a lot of our [semi-final] game with Internazionale Milano here two years ago. In fact it's even more frustrating as we did more over these games to get through than back then. We will look to see what we did wrong in the coming days.

We must thank Lionel Messi for what he has given this club. My admiration for him knows no limits. He is an example for everyone who wants to improve themselves. I have no doubt – given the competitor he is – that he will be suffering some very dark hours after this [and his penalty miss]. But this is what's beautiful about this game.

Ultimately we failed. Of course there are things I would like to have corrected, but we are not in the final. Congratulations to Chelsea who are there. We missed key chances here and at Stamford Bridge too. How can I reproach the players for the chances they created in 180 minutes? It is just not our year.

I congratulate Chelsea for their bravery and mental fortitude; they put in a great defensive performance. We wish them all the luck in the final. Barcelona will be there again next season competing in the UEFA Champions League. We have done very well in the tournament over the past four years but some you win, some you lose; that's the beauty of sport.

Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea interim coach
It is an incredible achievement by this group of players. A lot of people had written us off but the players showed their character. We didn't expect to play with ten men so it was even more difficult than expected. Barcelona are a great team with fantastic players but we showed what we are made of. We've had a difficult season and we seem to always get something special out when we need to. That's part of the DNA of these players.

The Ramires goal was crucial, it gave us that lifeline and that belief that we could get through in the second half. We said before the game we needed a goal and we managed to get one. It gave the advantage back to us. The second half wasn't so much about tactics as passion, pride and desire to get to the final. We knew we were just 45 minutes away and that was what it was about. We have achieved something incredible here. When it's the right time we will think about the final.

[Barcelona] are the best team in the world. They're amazing. They have some of the best players in the world as well. The way we played and defended ... we showed a lot of desire to reach the final and go through. We had a little bit of luck as well – but to win the trophy, you need that.

Last updated: 27/11/12 5.21CET

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