Andre Villas-Boas' final pre-match press conference before being sacked as Blues boss saw the Portuguese brand City's playing pool "a lot better" than his own.
But caretaker manager Di Matteo had no doubt on Tuesday afternoon as to whether Chelsea could go toe-to-toe with Roberto Mancini's men in Wednesday's Barclays Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.
They will have to do so without captain Terry, who Di Matteo revealed would miss the game after over-exerting himself in the two matches he has played since his remarkable recovery from knee surgery.
Asked if he believed Chelsea were capable of taking City on, Di Matteo said: "Yes, I do."
He added: "I think we have a very good team and squad, a very strong one, and we've shown it over the years.
"The table shows that they (City) have won more games this season than we have. But, I think we are very competitive."
Di Matteo did not shy away from statistics that point to a City win, the first of which shows Chelsea are looking to end a run of four away league games without a win.
"We will try, yes, for sure," he said, before being reminded City had won all 14 of their home league matches.
"I know that one as well. I know the facts! They're obviously very strong at home, everybody knows that.
"But every run comes to an end."
One area where Chelsea do hold the edge is in terms of big-match experience at the tail-end of a season.
Di Matteo said: "We've got a lot of players that have played many, many important games and crucial games and Premier League games, and that is certainly a factor that is within our team."
It could also be the perfect time to travel to City, whose last two games have seen them surrender top spot in the Premier League and crash out of Europe.
In stark contrast, Chelsea have transformed their season under Di Matteo, winning all four games since sacking Villas-Boas to reach the Champions League quarter-finals, FA Cup semi-finals and reignite their top-four challenge.
Fernando Torres has finally started scoring, while City could be without central defensive pair Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott on Wednesday.
Di Matteo finally had some bad news of his own to deliver on Wednesday when he announced Terry would miss the game.
He said: "I expect him to be okay for the weekend. It's just been really short-term that he's not available.
"He's a crucial member of our team and a big leader on the pitch as well.
"It's better when he's available, for sure."
Di Matteo played down fears Terry might be not be fit enough to play a significant part in the nightmare schedule Chelsea are in the midst of.
He said: "I have to manage everybody. It's not just one player.
"We're looking at the squad here and the amount of games will be very demanding on the teams, so we'll have to manage that."
Di Matteo admitted it was a brutal fixture list of seven games in 20 days, adding: "There is no time to be looking at the future because these games come so fast. We play every three days, basically.
"It's great but it's very demanding as well."
Goalkeeper Petr Cech believes Chelsea can still snatch third place from Tottenham, whom they host on Saturday.
Di Matteo said: "Fourth place is what is important to us. If we can get third place, even better."
Torres adding to his long-awaited goals against Leicester on Saturday would obviously help.
"If individuals are more confident, it will make the team stronger," said Di Matteo, who questioned how much of a difference Carlos Tevez would make if he returns from his City exile on Wedneday.
"What about the others?
"They have such a strong squad. They have so many good players.
"It's important that we, as a team, look after not just one player.
"They have got so many players that can threaten you and hurt you."