Di Matteo content with selection

PA Sport
Roberto Di Matteo
Roberto Di Matteo

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo defended his team selection after his side lost 4-1 at Anfield to end their hopes of a top-four finish.

The Italian made eight changes from the side which beat the Reds in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday and it showed as they were torn apart in the first half. But he had no regrets about the team he picked.

"I thought Liverpool were the better side. They looked inspired and they scored at the right times as well," he said. "It wasn't the team selection. We have to give credit to them (Liverpool)."

He added: "We have played with these players the whole season and they have carried us so far and we still had a chance with two games to qualify for fourth spot. We were depending on other results (to make the top four) but we have needed everyone to come so far.

"We have played 37 games in the Premier League and I don't think the points we lost today which made the difference. We have lost many points in the whole season. You need to be objective over 37 games.

"By utilising the strength we had I thought we would be able to reach the final and still have a chance (of the top four) with two games to go. But you know how demanding it has been for us - we have played every three days in the last eight weeks - and I thought tonight, I thought a team which was energetic and fresh mentally would give us a chance."

A Michael Essien own goal and efforts from Jordan Henderson and Daniel Agger put the hosts 3-0 up inside half an hour, while Stewart Downing hit the crossbar and also missed a penalty. Ramires pulled one back just after the break but Jonjo Shelvey restored the three-goal cushion with a long-range effort.

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, meanwhile, offered a positive appraisal of his first full season back in charge after his side picked up just a sixth home win of the league competition.

"We've got a bit of silverware back in the cupboard after six years, we're back in Europe at the first time of asking, we were near to winning the FA Cup final. Not a bad first season," he said.

And speaking about Tuesday's match, he added: "I think the players will be happy to finish on a high at Anfield. That performance was on a par with a lot of other performances where we've not had the result. Tonight we got that. Hopefully the supporters go away feeling very happy. Hopefully the boys have put a wee smile on their faces."

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