- Premier League
Di Matteo bemoans Chelsea's fixture congestion
Roberto Di Matteo admits Chelsea's hectic schedule took its toll as the Blues saw their hopes of a top-four finish fade with defeat to Newcastle.
Two stunning strikes from Papiss Demba Cisse saw the Magpies boost their hopes of securing Champions League football next season with a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.
With the match just three days before Chelsea's FA Cup final against Liverpool, Di Matteo opted to leave the likes of Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba on the bench.
Having reached the finals of both the FA Cup and the Champions League, Chelsea were playing their 57th match of the season on Wednesday - only Birmingham have played more. And Di Matteo admitted the fixture congestion played its part as his side never really found their rhythm against Newcastle.
"I don't think we ever got going, especially in the first half and they scored two great goals, Cisse had two shots and scored both goals," Di Matteo told Sky Sports.
"It was a difficult game for us tonight, especially the first half - the tempo wasn't quite high enough for our play, and they did well, credit to Newcastle.
"We have pushed for two months now and it was our sixth game in 17 days and we keep pushing. It just looked like we never got into the rhythm tonight.
"It's demanding but we have to pick ourselves up and we have to go again in three days - we have got a big game against Liverpool on Saturday."