There is no denying that since taking charge at Stamford Bridge, Roberto Di Matteo has had an incredible impact on Chelsea’s fortunes. Already, he hes brought silverware to the club, and with a Champions League Final in the offing, he could even use his time on the Bridge to become the first manager of a London club ever to lift the Champions League trophy. No mean feat, I’m sure you’ll agree.
I had this discussion with a very close friend of mine last night. I raised the (extremely obvious) point that the board at Chelsea will find it extremely difficult not to put him in place as manager if he is to win Europe’s most prestigious club football trophy. It was pointed out to me that since RDM took charge, he has implemented some extremely different techniques to those used by AVB.
Villas-Boas never had the dressing room at Chelsea, but he clearly was starting to look to the future, bringing in young players and giving them a shot in the first team. It is maybe a bit unfair to say that RDM hasn’t looked to the future in his short time in charge, but it is clear that he returned to more tried-and-tested methods in an attempt to get the club back on the straight and narrow. RDM plays the experienced players, and though this is not necessarily a bad thing, in the long term it probably wont get Chelsea where they need to be. The way my friend put it was that AVB probably could have come to Chelsea and done a similar job with the experienced players, but he looked to build for the future instead, and clearly lost the faith of his senior players quite quickly.
Di Matteo has had a big impact, and one that the Chelsea fans rightly appreciate, but long term I’m not sure that his appointment is the best move for Chelsea. Whoever the man in charge is (RDM or otherwise), they need to put faith in Sturridge, McEachran Lukaku, Romeu and Cahill and continue to build a young team around a spine of Cech, Terry, Lampard and Torres. As I previously said, if Di Matteo leads the club to glory in Munich I can’t see him not getting the job, and rightly so, he has surely earned a crack at it, but whether it will prove the correct move for Chelsea in the long term will depend greatly on his youth and transfer policies, and willingness to cut out the ageing deadwood in the Chelski squad.