Roberto Di Matteo will review Chelsea role next summer

 

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The Independent Football

Roberto Di Matteo insists he has no problems operating as Andre-Villas Boas' assistant, but admits he will review his position with Chelsea at the end of the season.

Di Matteo joined the Chelsea backroom staff this summer following the appointment of Villas-Boas.

The Italian had previously enjoyed two relatively successful stints in management with MK Dons and West Brom, where he won promotion to the Barclays Premier League before being sacked in February.

The 41-year-old, who played at Chelsea for six years, was last weekend forced to deny rumours he wanted to leave Stamford Bridge to return to management after being linked with the hot seat at Portsmouth.

The former Italy midfielder, whose contract at Stamford Bridge runs out next summer, once again played down reports he is unhappy at the west London club today, but conceded he does not know whether he will remain on the Blues coaching staff next season.

He said: "I'm very happy to be here. It's my club. I feel at home and Andre and I have developed a very good working relationship, so it's something we'll discuss maybe at the end of the season."

A 3-0 win over Wolves on Saturday marked the end of a poor series of results that had left questions over Villas-Boas' future at Chelsea.

The Blues made good progress under the 34-year-old at the start of the season, but a run of four defeats in seven games left the club fifth in the league and in danger of not making the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in the Roman Abramovich era.

The Portuguese's inexperience - this is only his second full year in club management - has left doubts about his potential to lead the Londoners to silverware, but Di Matteo insists the former Porto boss is the man to lead Chelsea to glory.

"He's very well-prepared and mature for his young age," said Di Matteo, who took his first management job at 38.

"He knows he has a very wide knowledge of the Premier League and football in general.

"There is a lot of focus on his age, but he's a very ambitious and talented manager and he knows his stuff."

Chelsea have a chance to build on the victory over Wolves tomorrow when they face Liverpool in the Carling Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge.

Despite fielding relatively youthful sides in the wins over Fulham and Everton earlier in the competition, the Carling Cup holds a special place in the hearts of Chelsea and of Di Matteo in particular.

Di Matteo scored the winning goal in the League Cup final at Wembley in 1998, and seven years later the Blues won the competition again in what was to be the first of six trophies won under Jose Mourinho.

Despite accusations the tournament has been devalued in recent years, Di Matteo thinks lifting the cup in February's final could have a huge impact on the Blues' push for silverware in other competitions, and on Villas-Boas' chances of keeping his job.

"(In 1998) it gave the team a real belief, a momentum," Di Matteo said.

"Then and now are two different situations, but it gave that team a good, positive effect to go on and win the Cup Winners' Cup and finish the season well.

"This year we've looked at it as a trophy for us to win.

"It's a chance to win a cup. It can give a very positive momentum if you win a trophy in that part of the season.

"It's the first one we can win and we are still in all the competitions, so we have a chance to win them all.

"In terms of the manager, winning a trophy is always very important."

Di Matteo refused to reveal whether Fernando Torres would face his former club after starting the last four games on the Chelsea bench.

Villas-Boas is likely to blood the likes of Josh McEachran, Romelu Lukaku and Ryan Bertrand, while captain John Terry is suspended and Raul Meireles is cup-tied.

PA

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