Di Matteo refuses to be drawn on Chelsea future
Chelsea interim boss Roberto Di Matteo refused to be drawn on his future at the club amid reports that owner Roman Abramovich will try to persuade Pep Guardiola to become manager of the Blues this summer.
The Italian, who was appointed interim boss after Andre Villas-Boas’ dismissal in March, has won the FA Cup and is now preparing for a Champions League final against Bayern Munich next Saturday.
But, despite the 41-year-old’s success, it is unclear whether the Chelsea hierarchy will give Di Matteo the job on a full-time basis.
When asked if he felt like a “goner”, Di Matteo told reporters: “No, no, no. I feel part of this club. I focus on the team and the players, and what we’re looking forward to in the next eight days.”
The former Lazio player’s situation is similar to that of when Avram Grant was appointed interim boss after Jose Mourinho’s sacking in 2007. The Israeli guided Chelsea to their first Champions League final but was axed by Abramovich after losing on penalties to Manchester United in Moscow.
The Stamford Bridge side face missing out on Champions League football next season if they do not defeat Jupp Heynckes’ side in Munich after missing out on a top-four spot domestically.
Asked if next Saturday would be make-or-break for his Chelsea managerial future, Di Matteo said: “I’m not thinking about that. It’s not about me, it’s about Chelsea. The players have a fantastic opportunity to achieve something very special.
“We have pushed the players and they’ve responded fantastically well.
“To be able to play in the Champions League final, for these players, is a magnificent opportunity for them and the club.
“The effort and commitment from the players has been fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
The Italian is dearly loved at Stamford Bridge and he insisted that the club will always mean a lot to him, even if he does not become manager full time.
“I’ll always have a good relationship with the fans,” Di Matteo said.
“I’m an ex-player here. I’ve got a legacy and no-one would take that away.”