The physical striker scored two goals and set up another as Villa recorded a 3-0 victory in Saturday's first home game of the season.
Di Matteo was speaking to Villa’s official website following the match at Villa Park, having seen Gestede net a first-half brace and set up a Jack Grealish goal to secure the club their first win of the season.
The 27-year-old Benin international opened the scoring in the 21st-minute with a powerful header from an Aly Cissohko cross, before adding his second on the stroke of half-time when some neat link-up play between Jordan Ayew and Ross McCormack played him through for a straightforward finish.
He later provided the assist for Grealish to complete the scoring six minutes from time, winning a clever flick-on from a throw-in despite having several defenders around him, and was arguably unfortunate not to have ended the game with more goals to his name such was his dominance.
In total, the towering front man won 15 aerial duels over the course of the match – three more than any other player in the Championship on Saturday – and seemed to be at the focal point of most of Villa’s best chances as Rotherham’s backline had no answer for his strength and physicality on the ball.
Di Matteo was certainly pleased with how the 6ft 4in striker performed on the day and wants to see the team continue playing to his strengths going forward.
“He was very difficult to play against today,” the Villa boss told avfc.co.uk on Gestede. “The team supported the way we wanted to play today and that supported Rudy up front. I think that helped massively.
“It was a matter of acting as a team and producing a good team performance which then resulted in the win.”
Gestede has certainly shown in the past that he can star at the Championship level in the right system, having netted 33 goals in 66 league games during an 18-month spell at Blackburn Rovers before making a £6 million move to Villa last summer.
He impressed at times during his first season in the West Midlands, scoring six times in 26 total appearances, but often found himself isolated up top and unable to influence games like he could at Ewood Park.
Saturday’s display reminded everyone of what he is capable of when things are clicking around him, though, and it will now be interesting to see whether he can carry his form into Tuesday night’s home game against Huddersfield Town.