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The interim Blues boss is frustrated with how his team has been portrayed over this campaign and feels that a hectic schedule places huge demands on his players.

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo argues that his team has been unfairly criticized this season.

The Blues are currently sixth in the Premier League, four points behind Newcastle, which is occupying the final Champions League qualification slot with just four games left in the season, but the Italian believes that the club has been unfairly targeted despite its continued progress in other competitions.

"What can I say? From where I'm sitting, we are one point now behind Tottenham, in the final of the FA Cup and semifinal of the Champions League, and we seem to be the worst team in England, you know?" he said to reporters. "That's what it feels like sometimes."

Asked if the criticism had been used to motivate his players, Di Matteo said: "I'm not going to tell you what I use! I'm not saying it's unfair. We respect everybody's opinion."

The interim boss made eight changes to his team at the weekend for a 0-0 draw with Arsenal, but insists that the Blues are not prioritizing the Champions League over their top-four bid.

"We are not sacrificing everything," he claimed. "I've always tried to select a team that is able to win the games. The regret is that we've lost many, many points before. What we've been doing in the last six weeks, I think the points tally is very good.

"We're going to try until the last game and keep going until it's mathematically impossible for us [to finish fourth]. We've a crazy schedule as well, as you all know. So we're just going to keep going and, at the end, we'll see where we stand.

"Our team has played the third game in less than six days. It's crazy, the demand, physically and mentally on the players. It's enormous. I'm not sure people can actually visualize how much it is. It's tough and you could see towards the end some of our players were getting a little bit tired. It's just human."

However, Di Matteo is adamant that tiredness will not be a factor in Chelsea’s semifinal second leg clash with Barcelona at Camp Nou, where the team will defend a 1-0 lead.

"The tiredness will be there for all the teams, for both teams, not just for us," he observed. "We have a good squad that allows us to compete and to challenge until the end for these competitions and we are pleased with it.

"These players have been in this position probably many times before and under this kind of pressure and it doesn't really faze them too much."


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