The clamour for Di Matteo to be installed as the permanent successor to AVB is longer than the Kings Rd and while Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola believes that Bobby should have been given the job, regardless of the outcome in Munich, the club has been tight-lipped with Bruce Buck saying that he is one of many options being considered for the role. For the neutral it is hard to comprehend that a man who delivered both the FA Cup and Champions League in the space of a few months hasn’t already been installed as manager – but this isn’t any other job.
What Di Matteo has achieved during his reign is extraordinary; however the Italian must be aware of the initial job brief at Chelsea when he was appointed with Andre Villas-Boas. The Blues board was seeking change at the football club by phasing out the old and in with the new, as well as providing an expansive football on the pitch that is easy on the eye. Di Matteo’s success during his spell in charge was to simply go back to the Chelsea of old and rely on the tried and tested philosophies and methods on the pitch. It duly delivered, but it mustn’t detract from the fact that a change is needed and new players to replace the old guard need to be blooded in. Does Di Matteo have the ability to do that? That is the question the board will be asking.
It is a tough call for the Chelsea board and any decision to take Di Matteo out of the equation now is a tough one. Ruud Gullit said prior to the final that it may be easier for Abramovich if the Blues were to lose in Munich, in terms of bringing a new man in, but victory has inadvertently changed things. The Russian has never been one to shirk big decisions and he arguably has one of the toughest calls of his time, but is Di Matteo really experienced enough for the big job that is needed at Chelsea? Winning the Champions League was a fantastic achievement, but on closer examination the Blues were hardly a dominating force throughout. As Gary Neville pointed out that in footballing terms against Napoli, Barcelona and Bayern they were given a lesson, but it was their heart, determination and hard work that saw them cross the line and get the respective job done. It wasn’t champagne football, but simply percentages and Abramovich has to wonder whether Di Matteo can deliver the former, as well as be successful?
Di Matteo would certainly be the safer and in many ways the easier option, but will the Chelsea side evolve under his stewardship, given his reliance on experience? I for one have my doubts, given that Bobby would start the new season with much the same instruction that Villas-Boas was given in order to reshape the football club. That would mean phasing out the old guard – the very people who brought him his current success. Regardless of Champions League success, Chelsea needs to move forward in their development as a football club, if they are to enjoy the types of nights like they had on Saturday on a regular basis.