LONDON (AP) -Chelsea's difficulty pursuing Champions League glory while trying to qualify for the competition through the English Premier League was highlighted on Saturday as the team labored to a 2-1 victory over Wigan.
Three days after beating Benfica to set up a European semifinal with Barcelona, Chelsea struggled to overcome a side battling against relegation despite several changes to the lineup.
"Wigan were really unlucky today not to get something out of this game," Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo said. "After you play a midweek game in the Champions League, there's always a concern that you might have a little hangover for the weekend game.
"And even though I tried to make a number of changes for today's game to energize the team, I think the first half, we didn't really get into the game. The tempo was slow and the intensity was low."
But the Blues won for the eighth time in 10 games since Di Matteo replaced Andre Villas-Boas for the rest of the season, lifting them to two points behind fourth-place Arsenal, which hosts Manchester City on Sunday.
It was a fortuitous victory, though, with Wigan manager Roberto Martinez claiming that both of Chelsea's goals should have been ruled out for offside.
Wigan's players were furious in the 62nd minute when Branislav Ivanovic's goal was given by referee Mike Jones despite appearing to be in an offside position when he met Raul Meireles' throughball.
Mohamed Diame leveled for Wigan in the 82nd, but Juan Mata pounced in the third minute of stoppage time after Fernando Torres' strike from a tight angle came off the post.
Martinez insisted Wigan "was robbed" at Stamford Bridge, leaving the team in the bottom three.
"There is a feeling of real injustice in the dressing room and we don't deserve that," he said. "Is it time to bring in technology? No. Is it time to bring in referees and linesmen who know the rules or the laws or who can just referee the game? You don't need technology for that. I have to laugh about it because it's really cruel."
With Barcelona up next in the Champions League, securing a top-four finish could be Chelsea's only route back into the lucrative competition next season.
"We are in a position, unfortunately, that we have to win and we are pleased that we got the three points today, even though you'd say it wasn't a sparkling performance," Di Matteo said. "But I think that also shows the strength of the team. I'm sure that you would agree that the teams that win the league or the title don't always put a sparkling performance in."
Chelsea is also still in contention for the FA Cup, with the semifinal against Tottenham next Sunday coming just three days before the Barcelona first leg at home.
"We'll try our best managing it and using all the players that we have to try to win these games," Di Matteo said. "It's not easy but I think we are very excited and pleased that we are still involved in all these competitions."
Chelsea was missing the injured John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, while Ramires was ill on Saturday. Di Matteo plans to have all four players assessed on Sunday ahead of the following day's trip to west London neighbor Fulham.
Rob Harris can be reached at http://twitter.com/RobHarris