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Hernandez: Five matches to watch

Liga MX about an hour ago
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Mar 15, 2012

Di Matteo: We made history

Chelsea's interim manager Roberto Di Matteo hailed his club's comeback against Napoli as the Blues reached the Champions League quarter-finals in stunning fashion.

• Terry: One of the greatest nights
• Chelsea 4-1 Napoli

Chelsea overcame a 3-1 deficit from the first-leg to win 4-1 (5-4 on aggregate) in a topsy-turvy game at Stamford Bridge that ended with Branislav Ivanovic scoring the winner in extra-time.

"It was a fantastic game to watch as well with two great football teams on the pitch," Di Matteo said. "I think we made history tonight, as we were in such a difficult position before the game and we knew it would take a lot to go through."

Andre Villas-Boas was fired after losing the first leg at Napoli's San Paolo stadium, but Di Matteo has now won all three of his matches in charge.

"The performance of this whole team tonight was just outstanding," he added. "It's not just the senior players, but the collective performance of the whole team.

"The senior players put their experience on the pitch, as they are used to playing this type of game. David Luiz couldn't walk at the end and John Terry had cramp, everybody was just incredible tonight.

"For the club, you know, it meant a lot. To still be able to play in the Champions League, and also you could see how much it meant to the players.

"I think everybody was very happy and delighted that we managed to stay in the Champions League after putting on such a big performance tonight. I've had some great nights, I have to say, but I think it will probably go down in the club's history.

"To have come back from a two-goal deficit from the first leg and you saw the players tonight, how they performed. They showed passion, that they care about the team, the club, the supporters. We gave us a big boost going forward."

Di Matteo has overseen an impressive change in fortunes at Chelsea since being handed the reins until the end of the season.

The 4-1 defeat of Napoli continues his 100% start to life at the Stamford Bridge helm, although he refused to take any personal acclaim for the upturn in fortunes.

"The home advantage was on our side tonight," Di Matteo said. "Napoli are probably stronger at home than away from home, even though they are very dangerous with the transition. I think our supporters helped us win the game tonight as well and we just tried to go back to basics.

"We tried to be solid, not concede goals and we're always confident in the quality we have in the team to score goals ourselves. Every win will increase the confidence of the team.

"We needed to find that team spirit tonight. We needed to play as a group and sacrifice ourselves.

"For me, in my position at the moment, I am just trying to win match after match so what happens after is not important. I am just focused on the games now.

"I don't really think about myself. I am just focused on trying to win games for Chelsea Football Club and trying to get the best out of the players.

"We have got three wins in three games now, conceded one goal, scored seven, and that is all my mind is focused on."

While Di Matteo struck a relieved figure, counterpart Walter Mazzarri tried to remain upbeat after Napoli's exit from the competition.

"Well, of course it is a big disappointment for us, especially with the way we lost tonight," he said. "I was happy with the performance of my team and I think it has been a great achievement to have reached this point in the competition.

"So I can only compliment the team, but tonight everything went wrong from the start very start when [Christian] Maggio got injured and we had to replace him.

"We probably paid for the inexperience of some of the players at both ends of the pitch. Anyway, I think it is a lesson for us we can take into the future as we have a young team.

"We can learn from this experience but the only disappointment is we could not give any more joy to our fans in the future."

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