Chelsea’s Next Manager


After the jubilation of Munich on Saturday night Chelsea fans now wait with baited breath to see who will lead the team in the defence of their European crown next season.

A seemingly sinking ship under Andre Villas-Boas was saved dramatically by interim coach Roberto Di Matteo capturing the FA Cup and the Champions League. The Italian was appointed in early March for the rest of the season after AVB was the latest managerial casualty at Stamford Bridge.

Di Matteo reinstated Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard after the pair had been ostracised during AVB’s ill fated reign. Favouring the ‘Old Guard’ paid dividends for Di Matteo as both Drogba and Lampard played pivotal parts in capturing two trophies.

The choice of Drogba’s power and presence over Fernando Torres’ ongoing struggle for form was inspired, the big Ivorian scored the winner in the FA Cup Final, an 88th minute equaliser against Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final and ultimately, with his last touch as a Chelsea player, the winning penalty in the shoot-out that delivered the coveted prize.

Immediately after the success of Munich the Chief Executive at Chelsea, Bruce Buck, declared that Roberto Di Matteo would be ‘in the mix’ to take up the permanent role at Stamford Bridge next season.

Lifting the Champions League was a step further than Avram Grant went in 2008 as caretaker boss, his side were beaten by Manchester United on penalties in Moscow (a game John Terry will always remember), he was duly given his leave a few days later. A clear message that Roman Abramovic felt Grant wasn’t the man to take Chelsea forward. However the man currently in charge at The Bridge has delivered Chelsea’s first ever European Cup and is not a certainty to take the role permanently.

Since Roman Abramovic bought Chelsea it has been made no secret that his desire ws to capture the top prize in club football, the Champions League. In the 10 years that the Russian billionaire has bankrolled Chelsea there have been two Champions League winning managers employed; Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti. Neither coaches were able to repeat the feat during their time at Stamford Bridge and so inevitably were shown the exit door.

Against all expectation Roberto Di Matteo has delivered Champions League glory. When the Chelsea were paired against Barcelona, the team they were infamously knocked out by in 2009 their hopes of going through to the final were written off, never minding lifting the trophy.

Despite Barcelona’s dominance over two legs somehow Di Matteo pulled off a victory over the two legs and took his side to the Allianz Arena as underdogs, as they had been in the semis, to take on Bayern Munich in their home ground. Bayern knocked on the door for 120 but the Chelsea defence remained firm and forced a penalty shoot-out that will live long in the memory of Chelsea supporters.

Although Roberto Di Matteo boasts no huge experience with a big club other than this season I hope that the board at Chelsea see his achievements this season as what he could do. If it doesn’t go well Abramovic isn’t against wielding the axe anyway.

Sam Jewell

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