Trophies justify Chelsea managerial changes says chairman Bruce Buck

 

Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has defended the number of managerial changes at Stamford Bridge since Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003 and believes the club's success in that period vindicates their policy of always having "the right manager" in place.

The Blues have produced a remarkable end to what has been a difficult campaign to reach the finals of both the Champions League and FA Cup under interim boss Roberto Di Matteo following the departure of Andre Villas-Boas, who had only been appointed in the summer as successor to Carlo Ancelotti.

With so many key matches to focus on as the Blues aim to qualify for next season's Champions League via a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League and secure victory over Liverpool at Wembley before they head to Munich on May 19, a fresh permanent managerial appointment is not on the immediate agenda for Abramovich and the Chelsea board.

The Blues have been managed by Avram Grant, Luiz Felipe Scolari, caretaker Guus Hiddink, Ancelotti and Villas-Boas since the departure of Jose Mourinho in September 2007, but Buck argues the consistency of the team would appear to prove that those were sound decisions.

Speaking to United States satellite radio station SiriusXM as a guest on The Football Show, the American said: "When people talk about instability at Chelsea, they refer to the fact we have changed a lot of managers over the years, and we have.

"It is probably important to have stability with your manager, but you have to do it with the right manager.

"We think we have made the right decisions all along, and we have a hell of a lot of trophies to show what we have done over the last eight or nine years, so that is the proof in the pudding."

Buck hailed the performance of Di Matteo - who has overseen 10 wins and just one defeat in his 15 games - following their progress to the Champions League final which was secured by an aggregate victory over Barcelona.

"It is about the Chelsea spirit, we kept the blue flag flying high, and we just have to be proud of these guys each day," Buck added.

"We have had a lot of ups and down this season, a lot of criticism, but here we are in the final of the Champions League and the final of the FA Cup, it is a pretty good position to be in."

Before their Munich date, the Blues will be out to make up the four-point gap on fourth-placed Newcastle to ensure qualification for the Champions League again regardless of the result in Munich.

First up is the small matter of the west London derby against QPR, which Buck concedes has its own added "dynamics" given the renewed debate over whether Anton Ferdinand will snub the pre-match handshake with Chelsea captain John Terry.

"We have a long way to go. We have to take it one match at a time, as Robbie and the team are doing," Buck continued.

"We have got QPR this weekend, and that is going to be difficult because the dynamics are difficult, but we have got to snare the three points there."

Chelsea are waiting on the fitness of centre-half Gary Cahill, who limped out at the Nou Camp with a hamstring injury.

UEFA have yet to clarify whether Blues captain Terry would be able to celebrate with the team on the pitch should they win the Champions League, with the England defender serving a suspension after his red card in the semi-final.

Chelsea will also be without Ramires and Raul Meireles as well as defender Branislav Ivanovic for the final because of disciplinary sanctions after bookings against Barcelona, although FIFPro, the international players' union, has called on UEFA to show leniency, with Bayern's first XI also set to be hit.

Forward Salomon Kalou has enjoyed a new impetus since Di Matteo's elevation, and with the suspensions could be in line to start in the final.

The Ivory Coast forward said: "We have to give credit to Robbie. He brought some energy to the club and to the team.

"He gave the belief to all the players who were not in the squad before and when you want to win this kind of competition, you have to use everyone and not exclude players.

"He brought everyone together, the belief for everyone to bring his potential to the team and to try to help the team win a prize."

PA

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