We expected it was going to be a hard game and it exactly proved to be that,’ he added.
‘We made it more difficult for ourselves by not scoring a goal in the second half with all those chances, and that kept Benfica alive.
‘We knew they were a good side and we were happy for a 1-0 lead but we knew the game wasn’t over. I said at half time that we needed that second goal to kill the game off. Every time you don’t do that you know it is going to be hard work until the ref blows the whistle.’
Benfica manager Jorge Jesus claimed his side had been the better in both legs and also complained about refereeing decisions. He saw his right-back Maxi Pereira sent off in the first half for a foul on John Mikel Obi.
Di Matteo reckons Chelsea deserved our win.
‘Benfica moved the ball around very nicely and we didn’t keep possession with the extra man as much as we would have liked. Our team wasn’t as sparkling as we would have hoped, they were maybe a little tired in stages, but we are pleased that we won the game and over the two legs I believe we deserved to go through.
‘I couldn’t see the sending off because it was a bit too far from me but it was a difficult game, high intensity with a lot of emotions and I thought the ref had a good game.’
Di Matteo explained John Terry was taken off in the second half after a knock to the ribs. He will be assessed in the morning and it is hoped all will be okay.
Wednesday’s match never lived up to the thriller against Napoli but as in the previous home leg, Stamford Bridge played its part in beating Benfica.
‘The crowd was again amazing,’ praised the interim first team coach. ‘They love these European nights and they supported the team fantastically well. It is great to see this excitement and how they connect with team.’
Inevitably and understandably, talk after the match was divided between discussing the quarter-final victory and the immensely high-profile semi-final to come.
‘It will be exciting to play two games against one of the best teams in the world and we will find our strategy that will suit our players and our team to face Barcelona,’ said Di Matteo.
‘They have some great individual players that are a big threat but we also have to play our game and play to our strengths.
‘Chelsea have faced them a lot of times over the years and a lot of our players have history against Barcelona. Certainly they feel a bit hard done by from last time three years ago when they played against them.
‘I am looking forward to these two games against Barcelona and we are pleased to be in the semi-final.’