Friday 18 May 2012
Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo says his team is good enough to win the UEFA Champions League.
The Blues take on German giants Bayern Munich in their own stadium on Saturday in the showpiece final hoping to win European football's ultimate prize.
"We can win it and we have to confidence and belief to do so"
- Roberto di Matteo
Jupp Heynckes' side are favourites to triumph, with Chelsea missing the suspended John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Raul Meireles, while Gary Cahill and David Luiz are returning from injury absences.
But Di Matteo believes Chelsea can confound the odds and win the competition for the first time in the club's history.
"Can we win it? Yes," said the Italian. "I don't know what the future will hold but we can win it and we have to have the confidence and belief to do so.
"I think the players deserve it. The players have done tremendously well and the whole club, and the supporters, would deserve it.
"I do believe our players have all the qualities you need to win this competition. Those qualities have taken us to this event here and I am very positive and very confident."
Bayern lost the German Cup final 5-2 to Borussia Dortmund last weekend, but Di Matteo says there is no doubt that the team enjoying home advantage are a very strong proposition.
"They have the best defence in the league, you can't just take one game to summarise Bayern," he added. "They've had a very good season and our approach has to be the correct one to be able to beat them.
"Cahill and Luiz trained the whole week so we are very hopeful"
- Roberto di Matteo
"They are playing in their stadium so they know the environment, pitch, dressing room. Our players are highly motivated and will be positive. We will try to make the best of the game and try to win it.
"There are suspended players on both teams and if you make it to a final then you have two good teams.
"Bayern have great players and strengths we are aware of, and are playing at home which could be a slight advantage for them, but we have excellent players on our team and I think we have just the same chances as Bayern."
Di Matteo, who took over as Chelsea boss from Andre Villas-Boas in March, also said he would leave it until the last possible moment to pick his team.
"Cahill and Luiz trained the whole week so we are very hopeful, and Malouda will join the group on Friday," he said.
"I will wait until the last session on Friday to see and reassess all my players. Then I will make my final decisions about the team selection."
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has lavished praise on Chelsea and admitted it will be difficult for his side - despite home advantage - to win the trophy on Saturday.
"We are playing a team with not only huge experience, but they also have fantastic organisation and outstanding players," said Heynckes.
"If you look at their path to the final, they beat Napoli and we played Napoli in the group stage so know they are a fantastic team.
"Then they beat the best team in the world, Barcelona, 1-0 and then drew 2-2 in Barcelona with 10 men. This data is a sufficient warning for everyone.
"I don't share what you hear outside that we are definitely the favourites. There are no favourites in a Champions League final, certainly not against Chelsea."