Blues still after Champions League

Somerset County Gazette: Roberto Di Matteo Roberto Di Matteo

Interim manager Roberto Di Matteo remains positive Chelsea can achieve a top-four finish despite their 1-1 draw with west London rivals Fulham.

Frank Lampard's penalty - his 150th Premier League goal - looked to have earned his side a victory that would have propelled them back into the Champions League places.However, Clint Dempsey's 82nd-minute header earned the Cottagers a well-deserved point as Chelsea failed to capitalise on Tottenham's earlier loss to Norwich.

"You look at it and we're closer to that fourth spot than we were," Di Matteo said. "We were always playing catch-up, so the situation was difficult from the start. We have to look at it positively. We are closer now than we were a month ago. We've got a good squad, a squad full of good players. We will utilise them."

Asked whether it was a missed opportunity, he added: "Despite [Tottenham's] result, we just have to try and win as many points as we can. When you're playing catch-up, the pressure is always on the team behind. We're a point closer to the other team.

"That's how I see it. We have to think positive. You couldn't have written off Newcastle [from the top four] as they are there and winning games.

"It's definitely the three teams as Arsenal have a little gap, for sure. It's important for us, the fourth spot."

Di Matteo was coy when asked whether Chelsea's experience would help them in their quest for a top-four finish, insisting instead the whole squad has a role to play.

That is fortunate for the Blues boss with Branislav Ivanovic potentially facing disciplinary action from the Football Association for an off-the-ball clash with Shaun Maloney in Saturday's win over Wigan.

Di Matteo would not be drawn on the issue but was more forthcoming when talking about the fitness of John Terry and Ashley Cole, who has an ankle problem.

"Cole is one we have to assess over the next few days," he said. "I hope he will be available for the next game [against Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-finals]."

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree