Di Matteo harshly treated at Chelsea Football Club
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is at it again, with the Blues now looking for their ninth manager since 2004 after the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo today.
Di Matteo won the Champions League and FA Cup as caretaker manager last season and was given a two-year deal in June. But there have always been rumours that Abramovich saw the Italian as a stop-gap appointment, with former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola a reported favourite of the Russian.
And in the wake of last night’s 3-0 defeat to Juventus, which has left the Blues on the brink of a Champions League exit, Di Matteo has left Stamford Bridge.
“The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first-team manager,” said a short statement from Chelsea this morning.
Although there is a great deal of sympathy for Di Matteo’s plight – especially so considering he delivered the trophy Abramovich so desperately wanted in May – thoughts have very quickly turned to who will replace him.
The overwhelming favourite, as noted by those over at free betting, at the moment is Rafa Benitez and with Guardiola said to be unwilling to end his sabbatical from football, it has been reported that Abramovich has made contact with former Liverpool manager Benítez to gauge his interest in taking charge on a short-term basis.
The club’s Russian benefactor reportedly made contact with Benitez before Tuesday’s defeat in Italy as he assesses his options.
After an impressive start to the season, the Blues have won only two of their last eight games. They sit third in the Premier League table, four points behind leaders Manchester City – who they host at Stamford Bridge on Sunday – and with their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread, the owner obviously thought the time was right for change.
But as most people will tell you this morning, it does seem incredibly harsh.