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Interim manager Di Matteo eulogizes Chelsea's 'old-guard' after beating Barca

London, Thu, 19 Apr 2012 ANI

London, Apr 19(ANI): Interim Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has praised team veterans after they silenced critics by beating Barcelona 1-0 in the first leg of the Champions League semi final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Didier Drogba was the goal hero on an unforgettable Champions League drama night as the Blues hang on to a first-leg lead over the current European champions.

Di Matteo reckons the experience of Drogba, John Terry and Frank Lampard would be vital in Tuesday's semi-final return at Nou Camp.

"Public opinion has been that a lot of these boys are over the line and too old to play two games in a row at this level. It wasn't just Drogba," The Sun quoted Di Matteo, as saying.

"There were other players on that pitch who you regard as the 'old guard'. But tonight they gave their answer to everyone," he added.

"I decided to play Didier when I looked back on the FA Cup semi-final against Spurs and I thought that he was the right man for this game. It was a great result for us and an almost perfect night," he said.

Drogba's goal in first-half stoppage-time was Chelsea's only shot on target while the Catalan giants in their usual self enjoyed 79 per cent possession.

But Di Matteo believes, Chelsea scored, and therefore, deserved to win the game.

"When you score a goal and win the game then you deserve it. We had prepared to do a lot of defending, to be patient," Di Matteo said.

"The boys were really determined not to let them through. We have a great team ethic. Young and old stay together and fight for the same target," he added. (ANI)

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