TONIGHT’S match has huge repercussions not just for Chelsea, but also for their caretaker manager Roberto di Matteo. For the Blues, victory would add momentum to their recent revival at a vital time, when they are still fighting to finish in the Premier League’s top four. Defeat, on the other hand, could be a damaging blow to their confidence and have a knock-on effect in other competitions, which they can scarcely afford.
Progress to the Champions League semi-finals would also be a feather in the cap for Di Matteo, who has got them winning and playing better – even Fernando Torres. I think the Italian needs this result to stand a chance of keeping the job permanently, although he has done terrifically already – far better than I expected.
One goal up from the first leg, Chelsea need a knockout punch and it’s crucial they get their mentality right and start on the front foot.
Benfica deserve the same respect as Napoli in the last round, and I think a similarly aggressive performance will see the Di Matteo’s men clear another hurdle.