Gus Poyet backs Roberto Di Matteo to land Chelsea job

 

Gus Poyet has urged Roman Abramovich to hand Roberto Di Matteo the Chelsea job full time, dubbing the decision a complete no-brainer.

Caretaker Blues boss Di Matteo remained in the dark about his future today after playing in the British Airways Football Legends Invitational Tournament in Barbados.

The event allowed him to catch up with former team-mates Poyet, Gianfranco Zola and Dennis Wise but lurking in the background was continued speculation over whether he would be appointed Chelsea manager on a permanent basis.

Di Matteo declined the opportunity to discuss the saga while in Barbados but Poyet provided an insight into how the Italian - who turns 42 tomorrow - was feeling.

"He's very relaxed," Poyet said.

"He's just trying to get away from the crazy three months that he had."

Those "crazy" three months in charge at Stamford Bridge witnessed one of the most sensational achievements by a caretaker manager in the history of European football.

Yet, delivering the Champions League and FA Cup was not enough to guarantee Di Matteo the Chelsea job.

Poyet could not understand why, claiming Di Matteo had demonstrated the merits of handing the reins to someone whose heart bled blue.

"It would be common sense that he will stay," said Poyet, part of the famous team from the 1990s that have since taken the managerial world by storm.

"I call him 'one of us', one of our generation - with so many managers.

"Mark Hughes, Gianluca Vialli, Ruud Gullit, Robbie Di Matteo, Dennis Wise, Dan Petrescu, myself, Didier Deschamps - there are so many - 'Chappy' (Albert) Ferrer.

"Why not one of us? Why should it be somebody else all the time?

"I'm not saying that we didn't have good managers at Chelsea. I mean, (Jose) Mourinho was different class.

"But give us a chance."

Billionaire Blues owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly determined to move heaven and earth to convince Pep Guardiola to abandon his planned sabbatical and become his ninth manager in nine years.

The outgoing Barcelona boss is the latest big name Abramovich is said to believe can deliver the brand of football he craves.

Di Matteo won the Champions League with an extremely defensive approach but Poyet insisted his former team-mate proved at West Brom he could throw off the shackles - with the right group of players.

"He does play like that - his style is that," Poyet said.

"Everyone is compared with Barcelona. As soon as you pass the ball three times, you play like Barcelona.

"He likes to pass the ball, to keep the ball, to be in control, to do important things while you are in possession.

"Of course, he needs to get the players to do that, and it's not going to be easy."

Those players could include Lille playmaker Eden Hazard and Porto forward Hulk, both of whom have been heavily linked with Chelsea.

The £32million-rated Hazard has also been flirting with Manchester United and Manchester City and cryptically posted on his Twitter page today: "I made up my mind."

Reports in France suggest the 21-year-old Belgium star has agreed a five-year deal worth £100,000 a week after tax.

Hulk has been touted as a replacement for Didier Drogba, who quit Chelsea last week following his Champions League heroics.

Poyet believes that was just the start of what could be a significant revamp at Stamford Bridge.

"I thought it was needing a change in the summer," he said.

"They need to see what they're going to do but it's not going to be easy.

"Difficult, really, for any manager - very difficult."

Andre Villas-Boas was sacked in March thanks to his doomed attempt at a revolution and Poyet warned whoever took over would also be cut little slack.

He said: "It would be beautiful if you are the manager and somebody let you go a year with a transition. It never happens in football.

"Everybody talks about it but, really, it never happens.

"As soon as you don't win three games, there's no transition any more and you are out!"

:: Poyet was speaking at the second annual British Airways Football Legends Invitational Tournament at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, held in conjunction with the Professional Footballers Association and the Barbados Tourism Authority. For more information about Barbados, visit www.visitbarbados.org.

PA

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