Kalou winner puts Chelsea in strong position

Chelsea’s season has taken on an undeniably brighter aspect after the departure of manager Andre Villas-Boas. Under caretaker Roberto Di Matteo, the club has already booked a place in the FA Cup semi-final. They also took a firm step towards the Champions League semi-final by beating Benfica 1-0 in Lisbon.

Salomon Kalou’s goal gives Chelsea an advantage for the second leg, but Di Matteo is determined not to let any complacency creep in. "We've put ourselves in a good position," he said, "but it's not a result you can rely upon for the home game. It's one goal. You look at the results Benfica have achieved in this Champions League and you're not going to sleep very calmly looking at that. We cannot think we're through yet."

Kalou’s goal came 15 minutes from the end, after a precise pass from Fernando Torres. The team selection had been weighted towards fitness rather than experience, with Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Michael Essien starting on the bench.

"It's just a question of trying to energise the team, freshen up the team," Di Matteo explained. "We knew Benfica play at a high tempo, so we needed fresh players who could run. That was the reasoning behind it; we needed a team with energy."

Di Matteo’s decisions and man-management skills certainly strengthen his chances of a permanent appointment. "I’m just trying to speak to individual players, communicate and try and give them a little confidence back," he said. "I'm trying to get everybody involved, pulling in the same direction to achieve our targets."

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