Posted on Apr 13
Roberto Di Matteo insists Chelsea will prove Gareth Bale wrong after the Tottenham Hotspur winger claimed his side are better than their FA Cup semi-final opponents.
Bale backed Spurs to beat the Blues in a series of explosive comments just days before the London rivals meet at Wembley for a place in the final.
But Di Matteo naturally disagrees and he is confident Chelsea will silence the Wales winger on Sunday.
"We respect his opinion and we'll see on Sunday. Obviously, I don't agree with him," Di Matteo said on Friday.
The sides drew both Premier League matches this season and Di Matteo added: "We played them twice in the league and both games were quite balanced in that sense.
"When you play a one-off game, it's difficult to say who's the favourite because of the form the team's in. The dynamic of the game is different.
"This is a decisive game. We are in good form. We've been getting some good results and the players are confident."
Di Matteo's hopes of making Bale eat his words were boosted by the news that captain John Terry and left-back Ashley Cole are fit to start following injuries.
The Chelsea interim coach could be forgiven for holding back most of the players he planned to use in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona.
But he hinted that he would send out his strongest possible line-up against Spurs.
"I will look at the team for Sunday and only think about what's best for that game -- to win that game," he said.
"Whichever team I select, they have to put in a collective effort to win the game. One player alone won't be able to do that."
Some Chelsea fans might be willing to sacrifice FA Cup glory in exchange for winning the Champions League or even finishing in the Premier League's top four, which secures a place in next season's Champions League.
But Di Matteo is just focused on taking the chance to move a step closer to winning a trophy.
"Winning always has a positive psychological effect on individuals and the team," he said.
"We have two opportunities, obviously, and we'll try to win them both. That's our aim, what we're working for.
"It's the period of the season where you play for all the trophies, isn't it? We're very pleased to be involved in this."
Di Matteo could be forgiven for pinching himself at managing a team in a Wembley semi-final barely a month after taking charge.
The Italian, who scored in two FA Cup final wins with Chelsea, said: "It certainly was a dream to be able to take the club you played for to a semi-final at Wembley."