There is no certainty at Chelsea that Roberto Di Matteo will be offered the manager's job in the long term, even if he wins the Champions League final on 19 May having eliminated Barcelona in such dramatic circumstances on Tuesday night.
The first choice of Roman Abramovich is still understood to be Tuesday's beaten opponent, Pep Guar-diola, who is yet to sign a new contract at Barcelona. Rum-ours abounded yesterday about a crucial lunchtime meeting bet-ween Guardiola and the club's president, Sandro Rosell, and an announcement is expected by Saturday at the very latest.
The doubt over Di Matteo's future was reflected among the Chelsea players in the aftermath of Tuesday's win. None of them gave their unequivocal backing that he should get the job in the summer despite the excellent run of results he has achieved – losing just one game in 15.
Di Matteo continues to dismiss the issue of his future at the club beyond this season as "irrelevant". He is understood to have been interviewed for the permanent job by the technical director, Michael Emenalo. However, despite reaching the Champions League and FA Cup finals, the Italian remains more of an outside bet. The club's chief executive, Ron Gourlay, was non-committal on Di Matteo's future in an interview with BBC Five Live last night. He said that the club would return to the issue at the end of the season.
Frank Lampard, pictured, said that Di Matteo, who was formerly Andre Villas-Boas's assistant, had made a difference, but was non-committal about how he saw the Italian's future. Lampard, who has one year left on his contract, said: "It's a hard call for me to make [on Di Matteo] because it's a club decision. What I can say is that what he's done is no coincidence. He's created an atmosphere, he's got players playing, the camp's very happy and you can see that in the results."
John Terry will be prevented by Uefa rules from lifting the European Cup, or sharing the job with vice-captain Lampard, should Chelsea win the trophy, following his red card against Barcelona for violent conduct. Terry will learn on 31 May how long his ban for kneeing the back of Alexis Sanchez's leg will rule him out of European competition but he is certain to miss the final. It is understood that Uefa regulations preclude a player banned for violent conduct from being part of the squad that go up to collect the trophy and medals.