No Chelsea revolution this season, vows Roberto Di Matteo
Saturday 11 August 2012
Roberto Di Matteo has vowed there would be no Chelsea revolution this season as he questioned the wisdom of trying to play like Barcelona.
Di Matteo inspired the Blues to the greatest triumph in their history last term when he tore up former manager Andre Villas-Boas' blueprint for change and was rewarded with a Champions League and FA Cup double.
Villas-Boas had been tasked by billionaire owner Roman Abramovich with transforming the way Chelsea played, the Russian said to have long held a dream of seeing 'Barcelona in blue shirts'.
The attempt backfired spectacularly and caretaker boss Di Matteo was allowed to go back to basics to save the club's season.
The £66million splashed out on the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin since the Champions League success suggest Abramovich remains determined to get Chelsea playing more attractively.
But Di Matteo, whose appointment on a full-time basis was only confirmed after persistent reports linking the Blues with outgoing Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, today hinted he would not fall into the same trap as Villas-Boas and try to change too much, too soon.
"There won't be radical changes," he said.
"Certainly, with the influence of the new players once they are integrated, they will be a bit different because they have different characteristics and abilities.
"I know we need to win games as well.
"But I don't think you can expect a completely different Chelsea overnight.
"The majority of the team are still here and, with those players, the club have been very successful already."
Di Matteo refused to be drawn on whether he had learnt from the mistakes of Villas-Boas, saying: "I don't really want to go back over that too much."
But he added, tellingly: "I repeat myself - I don't think there'll be radical changes overnight here."
That would appear to include not trying to force Chelsea's stars into a style of play that does not suit them.
"Everybody would like to play like Barcelona, but the reality is there isn't another team in the world who play like them," Di Matteo said.
"It's a culture, a way of life, a style they've produced through the club for many, many years.
"The aim for a lot of teams and clubs is to get there.
"But, as far as I'm concerned, there isn't one who plays like Barca. And there's only one Lionel Messi around."
Despite the phenomenal character Chelsea showed en route to the Champions League, their negative tactics in victories over Barcelona and Bayern Munich were condemned in some quarters.
Di Matteo launched a strong defence of his side's attacking performances in other matches, including thumping wins over Tottenham and QPR and insisted it was difficult to maintain that over the course of a whole season.
Regardless of how Chelsea play, the number one priority once again this term will be to win silverware and Di Matteo declared his players were hungry for even more, starting with the Community Shield.
Having finally won the Champions League - theirs and Abramovich's Holy Grail - the biggest danger for Di Matteo and his squad may be motivating themselves to do it all over again.
But that was never likely at a club owned by the Russian.
"His will to win has never decreased at any moment," Di Matteo said.
"He wants to win, and he backs it up."
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