Champions League.

The decision comes just six months after the 42-year-old led the Blues to the Champions League trophy, but Di Matteo today became the eighth permanent manager to be given the boot by Abramovich in nine years.

The former Wigan boss were taking his team in a new direction, with new signings Oscar and Eden Hazard playing a major role. Although initially impressing at the start of the season, results had begun to dry up for the Italian coach.

The West-London club had been high-flying in the Premier League but over the last month the Blues suffered defeats to Manchester United and West Brom and draws against Liverpool and Swansea seeing them slip down to third in the table with a four point gap between league leaders Manchester City.

Last night’s defeat in the Champions League has also put the club in danger of not qualifying for the Knock-Out stages of the European tournament.

Di Matteo had already missed the chance to claim some silverwear this season, losing in the Community shield and the UEFA Super Cup finals to Manchester City and Atletico Madrid respectively.

A statement on the club’s official website reads: “The team’s recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.

“The club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as well as maintaining a strong challenge for the top of the Premier League while competing in three other cup competitions. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all fronts.

“The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager.”

A number of big names have been linked to the vacancy at Stamford Bridge, including Rafa Benitez, Harry Redknapp, David Moyes and Laurent Blanc, however the bookies favourite remains Pep Guardiola.

Rumours that the former Barcelona boss is waiting in the wings to take over at Stamford Bridge have been doing the rounds for a while now and the Russian oligarch will be hoping he can convince the Spaniard to cut his one-year sabbatical from the game to take the reins.

 

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