Roberto Di Matteo refuses to get carried away despite strong start by Chelsea

 

Roberto Di Matteo has refused to get carried away with Chelsea's start to the Barclays Premier League season, insisting they should be judged after 19 games, not six.

The European champions have stormed to the top of the table this term, winning five and drawing one of their matches to open up a three-point lead at the summit.

They are already four points clear of champions Manchester City and Manchester United, and all the while integrating new signings and transforming the way they play.

But manager Di Matteo said after Saturday's 2-1 win at Arsenal: "It's only six games into a very long season.

"It gives us belief and confidence and hopefully we can build on it.

"So far, we have had a good start. But that's all it is."

Asked when the right time would be to judge his new-look side, the Italian said: "When you get towards the halfway mark, halfway through the season.

"Then you probably have a better idea about it."

Di Matteo won few friends and plenty of enemies for the brand of football Chelsea played en route to the Champions League last season.

Owner Roman Abramovich's demand for a more attractive approach has seen the Russian spend £80million on revamping the team and the likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar will certainly earn the Blues a few more fans among neutrals.

But Di Matteo said: "I think when you are a winning team, you are never loved. Teams that win trophies they are never loved.

"That's in the history of football. So it's as easy as that."

At £130million, Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Hazard and Oscar are one of the most expensive attacking quartets ever assembled.

Asked if there was a more exciting front four around, Di Matteo said: "That's for you to judge. I'm happy with my squad. I said that since before the league started.

"I'm happy they are with us, very happy.

"First of all, they are good players. Secondly, they are intelligent as well. And, thirdly, we are trying to integrate them into our system and they have to realise they have all responsibilities in the position they play - with some freedom as well but still they have to keep some kind of discipline when we do not have possession.

"I think we need to improve a lot on that side.

"As exciting as it is to have them all on the pitch, when we lose the ball, we need to defend as well."

PA

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