Roberto Di Matteo backs Chelsea players' experience

Media playback is not supported on this device

Chelsea in confident mood - Di Matteo

The experienced players in the Chelsea squad could make the difference in the closely run race for fourth, says interim Blues boss Roberto di Matteo.

Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle and Chelsea fill the third to sixth spots in the Premier League, and all are hunting Champions League qualification.

Di Matteo, 41, thinks the nous and influence of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole may prove key.

"We have players that have been in this situation," said the Chelsea manager.

Chelsea sit one point behind fourth-placed Tottenham with three games of the Premier League campaign remaining, starting with a crucial match at home to fifth-placed Newcastle on Wednesday.

On Saturday the Blues take on Liverpool at Wembley in the FA Cup final, before returning to league action against the same opposition.

Their final game of the season is at home to relegation-threatened Blackburn on Sunday, 13 May, before the Champions League final against Bayern Munich six days later.

With such a condensed programme of crucial fixtures - six in 20 days - Di Matteo maintains he is pleased to have experienced internationals and former title winners available for selection.

"We have players that have been in this situation and have the experience to be playing in all these important games with a lot of pressure," he said.

"That could prove decisive."

The average age of the Chelsea team that knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League at the Nou Camp in April was 28.6, and first-team regulars Petr Cech, Cole, Terry, Lampard and Didier Drogba are all aged 29 or over.

Should Chelsea win the Champions League they automatically qualify for the competition next season.

Nonetheless, Di Matteo remains keen to emphasise the close nature of the race of for fourth in the league, and how Chelsea are aiming for that spot.

"All [four teams] have equal chances of finishing fourth, with the same amount of games left to play," he said.

"We know how important the game is tomorrow for our club. The players that are going to be playing will be fully committed.

"We've not talked about the [FA] Cup final at all."

Top Stories