No rea­son for trig­ger happy Ro­man to pull his gun on Di Mat­teo

Midweek Sport - - THURSDAY OCTOBER 4 -

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.


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