Title win fuelled Chelsea upgrade


Click to follow
The Independent Football

Roberto Di Matteo has admitted that if Chelsea had not won the Champions' League in what some regarded as the miracle of Munich last May, they would not have been able to sign quality players like Eden Hazard and Oscar and change the team's whole style and approach, writes Steve Tongue.

By beating Bayern Munich they not only became champions of Europe but secured qualification for this season's competition instead of playing in the Europa League. "It was crucial for us as a club to be involved again this season," Di Matteo said. "Financially, being able to attract players and moving forward. Without the Champions' League it's a totally different ball-game for any club. Clearly the chance would have been much lower to attract these kind of players. It's a big bonus that they have settled into the team and the club so smoothly, like Juan Mata last season."

With players such as Jose Bosingwa, Raul Meireles, Florent Malouda and Michael Essien either gone or out of favour, the Chelsea side today will look very different to the one that threw away a three-goal lead to draw at home to United only eight months ago. Like today, John Terry and Frank Lampard were both missing, for the first time in a United fixture since 2000, when Di Matteo himself played his last game for the west London club.