Saturday, March 17, 2012

Di Matteo says Chelsea have their passion back

Three straight wins, including a dramatic 4-1 defeat of Napoli in the Champions League, has rekindled his players' passion, says Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo.

“I’ve been speaking to the players individually … to try and get them feeling the responsibility and make them aware of our targets, to bring a little bit of team spirit back, the spirit of sacrifice and passion for the game,” Di Matteo said.

Next up for Chelsea, which is fifth in the Premier League and has been paired with Benfica in the Champions League quarterfinals, is an FA Cup match with Leicester City Sunday and a crucial league game against Manchester City Wednesday.

As a player, Di Matteo helped lead Chelsea out of a moribund period without any trophies. He scored a goal in Chelsea's 1997 FA Cup victory over Middlesbrough to end a drought of more than two decades, and upon his retirement in 2002 had won four trophies. Current Chelsea stars John Terry and Frank Lampard, each of whom scored a goal in the Napoli match, are former Di Matteo teammates. The club's revival since Andre Villas-Boas was dismissed has renewed hopes it can win a trophy despite its past troubles.

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