Di Matteo: Our confidence had grown
Roberto Di Matteo used a little bit of ego massaging to restore Chelsea's fortunes when he was asked to replace axed manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Di Matteo delivered his first trophy to Stamford Bridge on Saturday when his side held off a second-half Liverpool rally to secure a 2-1 Wembley win in the FA Cup final. The biggest prize will not be fought for until May 19, when the Blues take on Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
But already a sense of order has been restored at Chelsea following the chaos Villas-Boas' ill-fated stint created and Di Matteo admitted one of his first tasks was to remind his players how good they were. He said: "We are all human. When things don't go your way, sometimes you have some doubts. Every victory has just cemented their confidence."
He added: "We have rolled on from one win to the next and our belief and confidence increased with each one."
Yet Di Matteo concedes it could all have been so different if his first game in charge, an FA Cup fifth-round replay at Birmingham, had gone wrong.
"That was a crucial game for us," he said. "It was my first game but if we hadn't won it could have gone completely the other way. It was important to get that first win to instil a little bit of belief and confidence. That was a very important game."
Di Matteo was convinced belief and confidence were the only missing ingredients from an otherwise proven squad, who did not deserve the negative tags being attached to them.
"We have had a very difficult season this year," he said. "But there is a lot of quality and ambition in this team. In adversity it comes out.
"The players dig very deep into their reserves. We seem to be able to face all the problems and difficulties that people throw at us.
"These boys have been in this situation many times before. They have a lot of mental strength."