Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Here we go again

You never quite felt that Chelsea was a club confident to have someone like Di Matteo as coach. Despite winning the European Cup and the FA Cup, the delay to offer him a long-term contract after the season had already ended smelt of a club looking for a more established name to agree terms first before reluctantly allowing pen and paper to merge. There were certainly no complaints after the club's excellent start to the season (we can all ignore the Charity Shield and Super Cup).

Such an approach from those above at Chelsea meant that if the team suffered a setback on the pitch then any loss of confidence would be exacerbated from the playing side - if the Board are not confident with a manager and still offer him a contract then what kind of message does this send across?

Roberto di Matteo is a Chelsea legend. To have suffered a career-ending injury as he did and be treated in this manner is appalling. Yet again we wonder who really runs footballing matters at our club. Who in their right mind would want to join our club as coach for pure sporting reasons? It is obvious that even if a new manager is set a mandate (which in this case appears to be to encourage younger players to take to the pitch and push out the older generation) he has no time for doing so. To some extent I feel sorry now for the much maligned Villas-Boas!

The blip unfortunately began with the loss to Manchester United. Decisions and luck that had favoured us in the Champions' League under di Matteo's reign deserted us in the domestic league - and seemingly even more so since reporting Clattenburg. Many questions arise from this and other incidents. What upside did our club see in reporting Mark Clattenburg? Why did the club support John Terry even though they did not fight the fine and ban for him from the FA? Why are we stagnating to sign Ashley Cole for a further few seasons when he is quite clearly the best left back in our league (if not in the world?) The argument for us reducing our wage bill seems strange when we have signed the likes of Hazard and Mata who cannot be far off the same money as our ageing legends.

Nevertheless, there have still been some odd decisions from our now departed manager. To continue to have played Torres despite his poor form and personal attitude only makes sense if we are looking to offload him in the January window and want him to retain some match sharpness and thus gain a better price for him. Moses seems a squad player who is not an out-and-out striker and Sturridge makes great strikes at goal - but generally straight at and not either side of the goalkeeper.

Having been at the Juventus match last night we seemed to have reverted to Ranieri tactics with little balance on the pitch. Azpilicueta played right midfield and yet was nowhere near their 22 Asamoah. No recognised striker either. The best player on the pitch for us was Mikel and yet he was subbed. Was Roberto trying to prove a point? Juventus scored a lucky goal but should have already been ahead - and when they did hit the back of our net you could almost feel the Chelsea heads drop.

I miss Mourinho. I miss the days where you could go to play a club like Juventus and patronisingly say that you wished for a draw when you knew that sharing the spoils was the minimum your club would gain from such a match. At the new Juventus Stadium I would have taken 0-0 any day of the week. It appears that yet again in our search for perfect football, short-term underperformance will not be tolerated. You can only use the tools you have and with several key senior players missing and political problems causing the wrong sorts of headlines at Chelsea, Roberto di Matteo has gone about his work more professionally than I could have possibly imagined. Welcome to the Chelsea we have inherited.

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