Di Matteo proud of Chelsea amid controversy
The 0-0 draw with QPR at Loftus Road on Saturday almost played second fiddle as the attention was focused on Anton Ferdinand and John Terry. The two defenders who were infamously embroiled in a race row last season which led to a trial for Terry. The question before kick-off was who would shake hands with each other ahead of kick-off.
Ferdinand ended up snubbing both Terry and Ashley Cole – who was a defence witness at the July trial – and Chelsea manager, Roberto Di Matteo was perfectly happy with the conduct of his own squad.
"I have to say both sets of players showed a great attitude this afternoon. They focused on the football and played the game in the right spirit," he told reporters.
"Our players handled the situation today very professionally.
"We offered (to shake hands), we did our part, if other people don't want to that's their decision.
"I think we should shift the focus to the football side, not the handshake before and the handshake after."
The game did eventually take centre stage and Di Matteo's worry was that his side could not put the finishing touches to their chances.
"The only disappointment is we didn't score the goals from the chances we created. Coming to Loftus Road is always difficult because of the history and the rivalry between the clubs," he said.
QPR boss Mark Hughes, meanwhile, voiced his opposition to the pre-match handshakes between clubs, which were brought into practice as part of the Football Association's 'Respect' campaign.
"I've got the utmost respect for the Respect campaign, and it has done fantastic work. But this element of it causes more problems than it solves," Hughes told reporters.
"I don't want to get misty eyes about the old days but that (shaking hands only at the end of the game) is how we used to do things."
And Hughes was buoyed by the performance of his side up against the might of the Champions League winners.
"I thought we were excellent in terms of control of the game. That augers well for the future given we were up against the European champions," he said.
"In terms of an upgraded performance, that was as good as we could expect today.
"We were always looking to try and win the game. As a performance, it’s an improvement on what we produced against Man City.
"We're going in the right direction. It's only a matter of time before we get three points on the board."