Di Matteo: 'Common sense hasn't prevailed' with FA Cup semi-final kick-off
Published 13:49 30/03/12 By Martin Lipton
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo today accused the Football Association of lacking "common sense" after the Blues discovered their Wembley semi-final with spurs will kick off at 6pm on Sunday April 15.
The Stamford Bridge club had lobbied Wembley bosses for the match to be switched to Friday night to give Chelsea extra time to prepare for their potential Champions League semi-final first leg with AC Milan or Barcelona on the following Wednesday.
Instead, Chelsea's expectations of a lunchtime kick-off were ended when the FA announced the late kick-off and Di Matteo, careful with his words, nevertheless showed his displeasure.
Di Matteo said: "First of all, we have to qualify for the Champions League semi-final first.
"On the other hand, you know we've tried to communicate with the FA and cooperate with the FA.
"It's probably disappointing I'd say that common sense hasn't prevailed. I'd be happy with a Friday night kick-off, yes. That's what I'd be happy with.
"We've tried to cooperate with the authorities and given them our point of view. It seems that it's not been really taken into consideration."
Di Matteo is likely to rotate his squad again for tomorrow's trip to Aston Villa, although Branislav Ivanovic is fit after the thigh strain that saw him miss out at Benfica on Tuesday.
Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles, who has a knee knock, is set to be missing and Di Matteo agreed that league form had to improve in the fight for a top four place.
Di Matteo added: "Of course, we want to have points. We need points in the Premier League.
"We have played Stoke, Manchester City and Spurs in the three games since I took over It's difficult against Stoke - they drew at White Hat Lane and at City - so we know how strong they are.
"But we need points. We're in good form and shape, though. The spirit's good. We will try and take that into the next game. When you win, the confidence flows into the players and team. We'll try and take that into the next game.
"The fact that we changed six players for Benfica satisfies me more than anything else.
"I was trying to select a team that could play a good game against Benfica, and the same will happen tomorrow.
"Considering the strength and weaknesses of Villa and our own strengths, we'll look and see how the players are, their level of fitness and energy, then select the team.
"But it doesn't work that whoever misses one game will be in the next game.
"I'm very happy that we have almost a full squad to select from. That'll be very important for the rest of this run-in for us. For every individual game, we'll look at which players are best to play that game."