All change again at Stamford Bridge
Soccer:Chelsea are now looking for their ninth manager in just eight and a half seasons after promptly firing Roberto Di Matteo in the wake of last night’s 3-0 defeat at Juventus. Pep Guardiola will inevitably be linked with the role although reports in Britain this morning suggest that former Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez has already been approached about a short-term contract.The Italian saw his team humiliated by Juventus, a defeat that leaves his side teetering on the brink of elimination from the Champions League. Although he insisted he would stay and fight for his position, Chelsea moved with customary haste this morning in showing Di Matteo the door.
Di Matteo refused to deflect responsibility for the defeat in Turin — the club’s heaviest ever in a group match — as the biggest selection gamble of his reign backfired spectacularly. The result piled the pressure on the Italian, who acknowledged afterwards he was feeling the heat just six months after masterminding the most glorious moment in the club’s history.
Di Matteo risked owner Roman Abramovich’s wrath by dropping Fernando Torres and radically overhauling his tactics at the Juventus stadium and he took full responsibility afterwards. He said: “I’m responsible for the result. I’m responsible for the performance. It’s a negative evening for us.
“If anyone has to take the blame, it’s me. I selected a team I was convinced was the right team to win against Juventus, or get at least a draw, so the blame belongs to me. I’m responsible for positive and negative results. This is what I do.”
Di Matteo took more than an hour to emerge for his post-match press conference but he said that was not because he had been grilled by senior club executives. Asked if it would be unfair to sack him given all he had achieved last season, he said: “I’m the wrong person to answer that question. At the moment, I think, with the team, we are all in it together. “At the moment, I am here and I think I will be for the future. As far as I’m concerned, I’ll keep working.”
Chelsea managers under Roman Abramovich
Claudio Ranieri(September 2000 to May 2004)
Life under Abramovich:The first manager to spend Abramovich’s billions was under pressure from day one amid rumours Sven-Goran Eriksson was being lined up to replace him. ‘Tinkerman’ tag did not help the Italian and, despite finishing second in the Barclays Premier League and reaching the Champions League semi-finals, he was sacked.
Life after Abramovich:Returned to former club Valencia, immediately winning the European Super Cup. But was sacked six months later and has won nothing since, despite landing prestigious jobs at Parma, Juventus, Roma, and Inter Milan. Currently managing Monaco in France‘s second tier.
Jose Mourinho(June 2004 to September 2007)
Life under Abramovich:Declared himself a ‘Special One’ and completely lived up to the moniker, becoming the most successful Chelsea manager ever. Immediately ended their 50-year wait for a league title with back-to-back Barclays Premier League crowns and also won the FA Cup and two Carling Cups. Champions League glory remained elusive and a power struggle with Abramovich eventually saw him leave.
Life after Abramovich:Heavily linked with the England job before eventually resurfacing at Inter Milan. One of the most successful bosses in their history, he became only the third manager to win the European Cup with two different clubs. Now at Real Madrid where he became the first man to win league titles in England, Italy and Spain, although Champions League success currently evades him in the Spanish capital.