DI MATTEO WARNS OF BENFICA THREAT
Roberto Di Matteo has warned his Chelsea side they risk making the wrong kind of history if they fail to take Wednesday night's Champions League clash with Benfica seriously.
The Blues, who became only the fourth club ever to overturn a two-goal first leg deficit when they beat Napoli to reach the quarter-finals, need only draw the second leg to avoid becoming the third side to crash out after a first-leg away win.
Chelsea are odds-on favourites to reach their sixth semi-final in nine years, having sealed a surprisingly straightforward 1-0 victory in last Tuesday's game in Lisbon.
Complacency would therefore appear to be the biggest threat to Di Matteo's men setting up a mouthwatering tie against Barcelona.
The Italian coach said: "It is a danger. This is half-time and we're leading 1-0. But a 1-0 lead is basically nothing.
"Our players are aware of this, and we'll have to go into this game with the right attitude, the same attitude as against Napoli.
"Nothing has been done yet. We're aware of that. We need to go and qualify for the next round."
Benfica's limp performance at the Estadio da Luz contrasted sharply with those in their Champions League campaign as a whole, with Jorge Jesus' men having helped eliminate Manchester United in the group stage.
Di Matteo added: "This tie is far from over.
"They have scored in every away game of their Champions League season, so it's a difficult task tomorrow night."
Di Matteo certainly led by example, refusing to discuss almost anything other than Wednesday night's game.
The match will mark a month since the Italian succeeded the sacked Andre Villas-Boas, four-and-a-half weeks that have witnessed a turnaround in Chelsea's fortunes.
Six wins and a draw from eight games have sparked a clamour for the former Blues midfielder to be given the job full-time, something that will only grow tomorrow night unless disaster strikes.
Di Matteo continued to snub questions about his own future and asked why he was so reluctant to declare he wanted to manage such a fantastic club full-time, he said: "It's a fantastic club, I'll agree with you on that.
"I need to win games, it's as simple as that. It's a results business and that's all that matters."
Ending Chelsea's agonising wait for Champions League glory - something that looked an impossibility a month ago - would make Di Matteo's claim to the job impossible to ignore.
But, again, he would not go into whether the Blues were capable of lifting the European Cup and his own dreams of doing so.
He said: "I don't think about that. I have no time to think about that anyway. I'm full on in my work all day to prepare the team tactically and physically for the next game.
"There's so little time between games as well, so I haven't really sat down and thought about that."
Chelsea are in the midst of a nightmare schedule of matches and, should they reach the Champions League semi-finals, they will end up playing 11 times in just 40 days.
The Blues had been hoping to convince the Football Association to bring forward the kick-off time of their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham on April 15 from 6pm, to give them more time to prepare for a potential clash with Barcelona.
Press Association Sport understands they are doomed to fail and Di Matteo refused to discuss the matter tonight.
Commenting on their fixture congestion, he said: "I think there are a lot of clubs that would like to have so many games, to be involved in all these competitions.
"It's very demanding for the players, but we're in a good place. All the players are available, so that will help us."
He added: "It might become an issue at some point. I don't know.
"Fortunately, we have a fully fit squad, which will help us in the run-in, to be able to play every player we have and give everybody a chance."
Didier Drogba (foot), David Luiz (ankle), and Raul Meireles (knee) all trained tonight, with Di Matteo optimistic over their fitness.
The Italian was praised for his bold team selection in Lisbon, while his players have been queueing up to hail his man management, the kind of backing Villas-Boas did not enjoy.
Di Matteo said: "There are a number of players who, maybe, haven't had much chance or didn't play as much and are now getting more game time and expressing themselves at a very good level.
"We are a team and have to behave like a team."
Latest Football News at 11:00 BST