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Apr 25, 2012

Di Matteo: Such displays 'in our DNA'

Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo suggested remarkable performances are in his players' DNA after the Blues defeated Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

• Terry explains dismissal

Chelsea are into May's showpiece final after a remarkable performance at Camp Nou on Tuesday, as they overcame captain John Terry's first-half dismissal to claim a late 2-2 draw and progress to the final 3-2 on aggregate.

Clearly overwhelmed at the final whistle, Di Matteo - whose brief reign has also seen the Blues reach the FA Cup final - had the highest praise for the effort and commitment shown by his squad.

"I'm just delighted for the players, who deserve this moment," said Di Matteo. "They put so much effort in out there and they deserve to be in the final.

"We were playing the best team in the world - they're amazing - and we were up against all the difficulties you could imagine in any football match. We seemed always to find some reserves from somewhere, playing against the odds.

"The way we played and defended ... we just showed a lot of desire to reach the final and go through. We had a little bit of luck as well, which we needed. But to win the trophy, you need that.

"We've had a difficult season but we seem to always get something special out when we need to. I think that's part of the DNA of these players. It's quite incredible."

Di Matteo was prepared to forgive Terry's indiscretion - which saw him knee Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez in the back and now means he will miss the final in Munich. Raul Meireles, Ramires and Branislav Ivanovic are also suspended after picking up crucial yellow cards.

"We're all human beings and everybody can make a mistake," Di Matteo said.

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