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Skipper Terry hails Di Matteo after European triumph

ESPN staff
May 19, 2012 « Ashley Cole: This is why I left Arsenal for Chelsea | Chartbeat test »

Chelsea captain John Terry paid tribute to manager Roberto Di Matteo after he delivered Champions League glory against Bayern Munich on Saturday night.

Terry was forced to watch from the sidelines after he was sent off in the semi-finals, but he still got to lift the trophy thanks to a superb Chelsea rearguard action. Didier Drogba's equaliser in normal time took the final to penalties, where Petr Cech proved the hero with two penalty saves.

Di Matteo, since taking interim charge in March, has led Chelsea to the FA Cup and Champions League this season. Terry stopped short of stating his belief that the Italian should get the job full-time, but his feelings were clear.

''Robbie has been fantastic since he came in,'' Terry told ITV. ''You look at that trophy. That's certainly what we've been waiting for, what the owner's been waiting for, what the owner was in tears for.

''He's strived for this, he's pumped an awful lot of money into this football club trying top achieve that. Tonight we've done that and Robbie deserves a lot of credit for that.''

On the Italian's chances of becoming manager permanently, Terry added: ''We hope so. He's been fantastic. He can't do any more than he's done. To win the FA Cup and the Champions League, he can't do more than that.

"When you look at it, 3-1 down to Napoli, struggling against Benfica as well, we keep coming back. We even did it today and we did against Barcelona.

"This competition means the world to us, everyone here is thinking of those back home who couldn't get a ticket. This is for them too."

Frank Lampard, like Terry, has become a legendary figure at Stamford Bridge, and he could barely contain his emotions after getting his hands on Europe's top prize.

"I had a feeling about tonight once we got back into the game. I've been against Germans so many times on penalties, something had to change," Lampard said. "That's down to hard work, we've won the Champions League. It's amazing.

"We've had a tough season. It means everything, we've been so close. Roman said thanks and I said thanks to him, because without him we wouldn't be here."

Former Blues boss Avram Grant was another to claim Di Matteo deserves to retain the role on a permanent basis.

"He is the man," Grant told The Sun. "Roberto Di Matteo is responsible for the biggest achievement in Chelsea's history. What he has done is unbelievable. He has led the team out of a miserable season to win the Champions League and the FA Cup."

"I'm not the guy who makes the decisions at Chelsea but he's the man. Sometimes when a club takes on a coach who is not so famous and the team is not doing so well everybody would say it's his fault. So when it goes well, he should get the credit. It's justice."

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