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May 2, 2012

Di Matteo: Table does not lie

Roberto Di Matteo believes Chelsea deserve to be 22 points behind Manchester City and Manchester United in the Premier League after their inconsistent season.

• Top 20 FA Cup moments

Di Matteo, the caretaker Blues boss, watched the top two slug it out in Monday's potential title decider at the Etihad Stadium, a match which has come under fire for the lack of quality on show from both sides. Sixth-placed Chelsea have taken the Champions League and FA Cup by storm since Di Matteo replaced Andre Villas-Boas almost two months ago, reaching the finals of each competition.

"The table usually doesn't lie," Di Matteo said. "We have had our difficulties this season. We're hoping to finish the season successfully and as good as we can. They have won more games and won more points. The table always reflects the truth.

"I am very happy with the players we have and the squad we have. We have had a difficult season and we have to respect that other teams have done better than us."

Chelsea have a chance to cut the gap to 19 points and edge closer to finishing in the top four when they play their game in hand with fifth-placed Newcastle on Tuesday.

The match is the latest in a nightmare schedule that has seen them play twice a week since Di Matteo took charge. However, the Italian insists he will select the strongest possible side to take on Newcastle.

"I have not done that [rested players] in the past," said Di Matteo. "We played Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-final a few days before playing Barcelona in the Champions League and we put out a strong team.

"I've always tried to put together a team to win the game, looking at our physical and mental state. When I pick the team for the Newcastle game, I will not be thinking about [the FA Cup final on] Saturday."

Watch the final episode of ESPN's Fan Film series as the Chelsea and Liverpool fans get ready for the FA Cup final

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