No reason for trigger happy Roman to pull his gun on Di Matteo
WHERE did it all go right for Roberto Di Matteo? I’m gorging on humble pie at the moment when it comes to the Chelsea boss.
Because by now I thought he’d be staring down the barrel of Roman Abramovich’s gun.
The Russian’s hand looked forced into recruiting Di Matteo on a permanent basis after the Blues’ European Cup triumph.
The road to Munich and the final win over Bayern in their own backyard owed much to luck – and an ugly style of football – neither of which looked like keeping Abramovich (above right), Chelsea fans, happy.
It was easy to a picture a scene where the billionaire got an itchy trigger finger early on and started the search for his EIGHTH manager in EIGHT years.
That could still happen of course. But credit where it’s due, Di Matteo’s got Chelsea playing some good stuff.
It couldn’t have gone more right in the Premier League. Unbeaten, top with a three-point lead, only three goals conceded and Fernando Torres looking like his old self and playing with a SMILE on his face.
Di Matteo must be walking around with a permanent tent pole in his undercrackers right now.
The £80million he spunked in the summer helped of course – Eden Hazard (below) and Oscar would improve most sides.
But already Di Matteo’s Chelsea have shown they are capable of more than grinding out results.
They are developing a habit of not only being able to crush the cannon-fodder, but also to bully the big boys as Saturday’s London derby win over Arsenal proved. Getting trashed 4-1 in the Super Cup by Atletico Madrid and surrendering a two-goal lead to Juventus shows there’s still some room for improvement against European sides.
But that said, they won’t be playing teams of the quality of the La Liga frontrunners or the Italian champions every week. nd the 6-0 tonking of Wolves in the League Cup suggests they are more than happy playing the role of flat-track bullies. As well as the lingering shadow of Abramovich, Di Matteo has also had the John Terry sideshow to deal with.
But perhaps – oddly – it’s worked in his favour.
Most managers live or die by their ability to get the most out of their players – to get them to sweat blood for the cause. Maybe the Terry witch-hunt has allowed Di Matteo to circle the wagons and create a “them against us” siege mentality at the Bridge.
Whatever the secret, it’s working. And it means, for now, that Abramovich’s gun is staying firmly in its holster.