Selasa, 22 Mei 2012

Secret blend Di Matteo at Chelsea

Munich - From zero to hero, losers become winners: in three short months, Chelsea's Roberto Di Matteo control back from the abyss to the biggest moment in club history.

Stunning victory over Chelsea in the Champions League Bayern Munich on Saturday (Sunday local time) completed one of the most dramatic reversal of fortune in football history.

When Di Matteo was appointed as interim manager after sacking Andre Villas-Boas in early March, some observers regard the former Chelsea midfielder is just as long-term candidate for the job.

In the days following the dismissal of Villas-Boas, a list of potential managers is associated with a vacancy at Stamford Bridge - Pep Guardiola, Rafael Benitez, David Moyes, even Jose Mourinho.

Meanwhile, down in Chelsea at the Cobham training base, on the outskirts of London, Di Matteo secretly set about the task of restoring confidence in a team that only won once in their previous seven games.

"Confidence plays a big role in the life of an athlete and it's important to remind these kids, they are a fantastic player and has been so for years, you will not lose in just half a season or more," recalls Di Matteo.

"I think it's just a matter of re-install some confidence in each player individually and in teams."

Senior member of the first team squad who have been marginalized under the regime of Villas-Boas was brought back to the core team.

Frank Lampard, who has had a cold relationship with the Villas-Boas, is now seen as a trusted lieutenant.

"We are struggling for confidence, struggling on the field," said Lampard.

"Rather than come in and make drastic changes, the manager came and spoke to everyone individually and create trust within the group from the gym to the field."

Work Di Matteo reap instant results, with Chelsea securing a 2-0 win FA Cup replay at Birmingham before digging a 1-0 victory against Stoke.

"Some of the first preferred hard work - we did not play very well, but we won," said Lampard.

But it was not so apparent until when Chelsea's 4-1 win over Napoli in the second leg Champions League round of 16, who showed a quiet revolution Di Matteo.

Lagging behind 3-1 after the first leg, Chelsea cruised into the last eight with a performance reminiscent of the greatness of the club in a few years earlier.

Veteran courtier proved instrumental in winning Chelsea - Didier Drogba, John Terry and Lampard all scored before the deciding goal by Branislav Ivanovic.

"The game against Napoli to change everything," said Lampard. "It was obviously a big turning point - a major turning point - in our season."

With confidence restored and united behind their manager, Chelsea set about to save their season.

Confidence solidified after Di Matteo masterminded a 1-0 win at Benfica in the first leg quarter-final before Chelsea finish the job in the second game.

On the domestic front, Di Matteo is also able to effectively juggle the resources to secure a place in the FA Cup final after a 5-1 victory at Tottenham in the semi-finals held at Wembley stadium.

Three days later, Chelsea's defensive display super game to beat Barcelona 1-0 in the semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge.

Continue their heroic performance in the Nou Camp, when 10 players they managed to survive for nearly an hour to secure a 3-2 aggregate victory, led Chelsea to the final in Munich.

Is victory on Saturday was enough to get long-term gap Di Matteo at Chelsea manager's job, remains to be seen. The club has said consistently do not replace it until the summer.

But Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes insists that Di Matteo should be given the opportunity. "He's a very cold very much in control, and step by step he was able to increase contact with the player and able to create harmony," said Heynckes.

"I think he did an amazing job. I do not think there is an argument that makes him not continue."

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