Di Matteo enjoys his glory night - it might be his last
MUNICH - Reuters
Di Matteo has remained coy when asked about his future, saying ‘it is the club’s decision.’ REUTERS photoRoberto Di Matteo can now claim the title of “Mr Chelsea” with as much justification as any of the club’s great players of the past or indeed some of those who helped Chelsea become European champions for the first time.
The 41-year-old interim manager transformed the Blues season which culminated in the most glorious success in their 107-year history as Chelsea became the first London team to win Europe’s top club competition with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Bayern Munich.
“Football and football life sometimes is unpredictable and crazy,” he said looking calm but slightly red-eyed after the anxiety of the match and wild celebrations that followed.
“I don’t think anyone could have predicted what happened in the last three months and to finish off in this way is just incredible.”
The issue now is whether his reign as interim manager ends with his departure from the club because owner Roman Abramovich wants a more glitzy, big-name manager, or whether this triumph, two weeks after Chelsea won the FA Cup, will persuade Abramovich that Di Matteo is the man for the job long term.
In the same guarded manner he has used when discussing his future or club decisions since his surprise promotion to the top coaching job, he batted away the inevitable question once again.
“What I discuss with the boss we don’t discuss publicly,” Di Matteo said. “And it’s irrelevant, I’ve said that for three months. I’m happy with the role I’ve been given and whatever the future holds for me I will accept. Whatever the club decides I will respect, it’s as simple as that.”
Credit to Villas-Boas
However Di Matteo insisted that Villas-Boas should take a share of the credit for Chelsea’s success. “I think AVB deserves credit because he started last summer with this team, and built the foundation for it,” he said. “I’m very grateful to him that he called me to work with him.”
Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and Fabio Capello have both been mentioned as possible replacements.
Beaten Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes was in no doubt what Abramovich should do.
“If I was the club owner I would give him a three-year deal today,” he said after his side’s shattering defeat in their own stadium.
A former Chelsea player, his career ended prematurely when he broke his leg in Chelsea colors in a UEFA Cup match in 2000.
Di Matteo scored the fastest goal in an FA Cup final held at the old Wembley Stadium and scored the last goal in an FA Cup final there before the stadium was demolished. If given the chance, he might even manage to lead Chelsea back to the Champions League final at the new Wembley next year.
Football is simply crazy, beams Chelsea hero Cech
MUNICH - Agence France-Presse
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech summed up their season as “simply crazy” after his key saves helped the Blues win their first Champions League title in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Cech was one of Chelsea’s heroes in Munich after he saved an extra-time penalty from Bayern star Arjen Robben, then denied spot-kicks form Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger to seal a 4-3 win over Bayern Munich on penalties.
“It is fantastic,” said the 29-year-old Cech who was in goal when Chelsea lost on penalties to Manchester United in the 2008 Champions League final.
“We had already lost a penalty shoot-out in 2008, football is simply crazy. So much in one year: we were bad in the league, but we’ve won the title, that is unbelievable.
“It seems, the later someone takes a penalty, the more the players opt for power over technique.”
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard could only praise Cech for an outstanding display in the Munich final to help deny Bayern a fifth European title.
“Petr Cech has again shown himself to be the best goalkeeper in the world, not that I ever doubted him,” said Lampard. “To play the way he did against Barcelona and the FA Cup final then produce that display with two saves in the penalty shoot-out after the save from Robben. “When you have confidence like that in your goalkeeper, it’s great.”