Roberto Di Matteo has always come across as being as cool as Christmas so it was no surprise to hear him saying yesterday, on his first day in his new job, that he can handle the pressure of succeeding Paul Ince as manager of League One newcomers MK Dons. On the face of it, the Italian and the Milton Keynes club seem an unlikely match but Di Matteo believes it is the perfect role for someone who wants to learn his way in management from the bottom up.
"I missed being in the frontline very much but the fire never goes away," said Di Matteo. "This is a big challenge. The contract is for one year with another year option and you are under pressure as a manager but it is all about being successful.
"I understand I have no experience but I don't have a problem with that. As a manager you are going to be measured by your results. I am not concerned about the future. I am concerned about what we do this season, that's all.
"We will put up a fight and make it difficult for everybody that plays us. I have tried to take the best out of every manager I've played for. But you have to start and make your own way. I am the MK Dons manager and we are just looking at all the opportunities available to us.
"I think it is a young club and an ambitious one. It is a great opportunity to start here. I am very confident that we will do a good job."
The club won the League Two title and the Johnstone's Paint Trophy last season before Ince joined Blackburn Rovers, so Di Matteo has some act to follow in his first managerial post. The 38-year-old, who named former Chelsea player Eddie Newton as his assistant, is convinced he can build on Ince's achievement and will start on strengthening his squad in the next few days.
"I just want to get on working," he added. "We have been very busy over the last three days but we will not rush into any decisions. We are running a bit late but we are talking to all the people we know. It is a process that will take a bit of time. It is a new chapter. It is League One this year and I want to be more successful as a manager than I was as a player."
The club's chairman Pete Winkelman believes Di Matteo has the ambition and drive to work wonders for MK Dons. "We are a very ambitious football club and Roberto is a very ambitious young man," said Winkelman. "I think it is a really difficult process when you look at managers. They are the most important person in the football club. I am very confident about the appointment and really looking forward to what Roberto and his team will be doing with the side."