Why Roberto Di Matteo should be Chelsea’s next boss
Chelsea defied all the odds on Tuesday night when, in the Nou Camp, they came out victorious against reigning European champions Barcelona 3-2 on aggregate. All possession and passing statistics may have been in favour of the Catalans, however the crucial one read 3-2 to the Blues, which means they will travel to Munich for a much anticipated final on 19th May.
The Blues currently have no full-time manager, however since March, Roberto Di Matteo has been in charge and has surely done enough to earn a permanent contract. Here are five reasons why he deserves the managerial position:
1 – Knowledge of the players
When Roberto Di Matteo was given the interim managerial position, he was inheriting players that had not performed under former boss Andre Villas-Boas. Under Boas, Di Matteo acted as his assistant and therefore could already identify the faults and problems that were developing in the club under the Portuguese manager’s tactics.
However, with the change of coach, fringe players such as Salomon Kalou and Jose Bosingwa were becoming part of Di Matteo’s team as he built the skeleton of his side around teamwork, not just player’s individual ability.
And with the Italian putting trust in his players, everything else seemed to reciprocate, with his players appreciating formations and strategies organised by RDM all to achieve one cause, to win football matches.
2 – Knowledge of the club
Di Matteo spent six years as a player at Stamford Bridge, becoming one of the Blues’ cult heroes in the process. The midfield maestro made 175 appearances in all competitions, netting 26 goals as he became known for his passing ability and long-range shooting.
Winning six trophies in total during his time at “The Bridge”, Di Matteo knows what expectation levels are like at a club that was becoming one of England’s superior forces when he was playing.
And now with the ruthlessness of a Russian owner in charge of all proceedings off the field, delivering success is a pressure he’ll have to cope with. However, with three cup-winning goals for the Blues, it’s one he could well relish under.
3 – Knowledge of the English game
Not only do foreign owners have very short patience in football, but the fans can also turn on a player, a team or a manager quite swiftly.
Di Matteo knows what expectation levels are like in this country and knows what he has to do to keep all those belonging to the club on his side. Unfortunately, it was something he couldn’t do in February 2011 when he experienced his first sacking as manager when in charge of West Bromwich Albion.
However, before that he had built his reputation as a manager at lower league level, when he took Milton Keynes Dons to a play-off spot in his first season of management. The appointment at MK meant he could develop his own style and method of coaching based around the core of the English game, which proved to be successful, leading him to be poached by West Bromwich afterwards.
4 – Finances
In the current footballing world, it isn’t just players that can cost a club a huge amount of money. Chelsea paid a hefty £13.3 million to secure the services of AVB, when they indirectly paid FC Porto compensation to release him from his contract. However, just 40 games and eight months into his 4.5 million-per-year contract, Villas-Boas was relieved of his duties.
Now with no official manager in charge, various names have been mentioned on who will take the reigns at Chelsea. However, with the likes of Pep Guardiola (£8.7 million) and Jose Mourinho (£11.2 million) already on lucrative contracts, it would take a lot of money to persuade them to take the hot seat in South West London.
Di Matteo’s wages, reported to be increasing to £1.2 million per year since AVB’s dismissal, seems almost like pocket money to Roman Abramovich and therefore, should he remain on a similar pay packet, it would allow more money to be spent on new players.
5 – What he has achieved already
Finally, you have to look at Di Matteo’s record since he took control of Chelsea. He has now been manager of the Blues for 16 matches in all competitions and has accumulated 11 victories, four draws and just one defeat.
During this short reign, he has produced some incredible feats, with one of his first overturning a humiliating loss to Napoli in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, to progress into the quarter-finals.
Despite losing to title-chasing Manchester City in the league, he gained respectable results against Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa to really push towards the top four.
However, his highlight during his stint in charge is guiding the club to two cup finals. First, thrashing Tottenham Hotspur 5-1 in the FA Cup semi-final in front of a packed Wembley crowd with a dominant performance, then shocking European champions Barcelona, by triumphing 3-2 over two legs in the UEFA Champions League.
When you analyse everything, it seems to make sense that, despite looking abroad for your well-known managers that have a reputation for winning trophies in other countries, the answer to Chelsea’s management saga is right under their noses.
Abramovich should secure his services now, before someone else does.