Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay delighted by Chelsea turnaround


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The Independent Football

Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay has hailed the club's turnaround in fortunes under Roberto Di Matteo after watching him guide them into the Champions League semi-finals.

Last night's win over Benfica was the Blues' seventh in nine matches since they sacked Andre Villas-Boas and appointed Di Matteo caretaker manager.

The Italian also masterminded their run to the FA Cup semi-finals and has given them renewed hope of finishing inside the Barclays Premier League top four.

Asked if Di Matteo deserved a lot of credit for the job he had done, Gourlay said: "Yes, but it's a team effort. Everyone has pulled their weight. We sat down and analysed the whole situation and I think we have seen the results.

"It is a fantastic achievement if you consider where we were two months ago. We set ourselves goals and to achieve what we have done in the last nine games has been a fantastic turnaround.

"Everyone has stepped up to the bar. We are just going to take one game at a time and see where we go from here till the rest of the season.

"We have a big squad, 24 players. Robbie has been rotating the players very well and that will continue over the next couple of months."

Gourlay also confirmed Chelsea had given up trying to persuade the Football Association to bring forward the kick-off time of their FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham on May 15 from 6pm.

Di Matteo was "angry and disappointed" at the late start time just three days before the Blues' Champions League semi-final first leg against Barcelona and the club were planning to lobby the FA on the matter.

But asked if they would continue trying to get it moved, Gourlay said: "I don't think so. We made our views very clear. It was not just about the Barcelona game because we hadn't qualified at that stage.

"The FA Cup semi-final is all about the experience for families and for kids and with a game that could finish late on a Sunday makes it very difficult for people who have to get home.

"But that's it, we're in the semi-final of the competition and hopefully we can play well and go through."