Goodbye Roberto. Thanks for bringing your sultry Italian looks and your beautiful football to the normally dull Chelsea side.
I am afraid 4 league games without a win and probably (but not definitely) being knocked out of Europe was too much for Roman Abramovich and his many Rubles.
So, what can we make of Di Matteo’s dismissal after last night’s 3-0 trouncing by the Old Lady Juventus? Well, harsh would be an understatement, despite their quite rocky recent form, Chelsea probably were playing the best football of any club in England this season. In fact, had it not been for some decidedly iffy calls against Manchester United a few weeks ago, they might still be sitting pretty at the top of the league.
What this does show us is the lack of faith the owner had in the former West Brom manager. Despite the fact that he won them their first European crown last season, one always got the feeling that the re-signing of Di Matteo was more due to the lack of other options as opposed to true faith in the manager. It is no secret that the Blues have been sniffing around former Barca boss Pep Gaurdiola for months and perhaps Roberto was always working on borrowed time.
So the question is, why fire him now? After all, Gaurdiola has stated on numerous occasions that he wants to take a year off to “find himself” in New York City – the reason they weren’t able to nab him in the summer. If you plan on waiting for him (which seems to be the general consensus), is it really wise to bring an interim manager in now? What is this person – likely to be Rafa “facts” Benitez – going to be able to do in less than a season? Who would want this job knowing that Senor Pep is waiting to take your place next year? And is there really anyone better out there? (Sorry Rafa)
Let me put on record that I never agreed with extending Di Matteo’s stay in the first place. I thought he got very lucky and was always going to be brought back down to earth in his first full season in charge of a top club. That being said, if you are going to hire the guy give him a proper chance. By firing him you are admitting that your European campaign is over (even though with one game left they still have a chance of qualification) so what is a new manager that you only expect to be there until the end of the season going to change now? Is the new man actually going to make changes in time to win the league? It is going to be an almost impossible and thankless task.
For me this smacks of some awful management of the club and whilst the departure of Di Matteo was inevitable, the timing has all but guaranteed Chelsea’s failure this season. Congrats Roman, you’ve done it again!