LONDON: Interim Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo believes his bid to secure the job full-time will not come under threat from Pep Guardiola, who will quit as coach of Barcelona in a few weeks.
Di Matteo’s Blues beat Guardiola’s defending European champions in the semi-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday to book their place in the final against Bayern Munich.
Guardiola had been considering quitting his post since December and on Friday announced he would quit at the end of the season.
Although the 41-year-old Spaniard says he plans to take a sabbatical, speculation is rife Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will try to make him an offer he cannot refuse.
Asked if that put him under more pressure, Di Matteo laughed and said: “No, it does not.”
Abramovich is said to have long craved the concept of ‘Barcelona in blue shirts’, identifying Guardiola as the perfect manager to deliver that vision.
But Di Matteo cast doubt on whether Barca’s philosophy could be transferred to another club, saying: “History tells us it’s difficult to replicate the culture of a club into a different club.
“He might be the first one to do it. But if you look back at history, it seems as if it’s been different.”
Di Matteo was pushed into the hot seat following the sacking of Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas in early March, after Chelsea had dropped out of the Premier League’s top four following a defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
Despite taking the side to their second Champions League final since 2008, the Italian still has no idea of his long-term future.
“Nothing has changed from my point of view,” he said, insisting he remained “very relaxed” about his lot.
“I’m still very happy to be able to get this club to the end of the season and then this club will make a decision as to what is best for the club.”
Although doubtless delighted with the semi-final win, Chelsea’s methods over the two legs were the antithesis of the type of football that first convinced Abramovich to buy a club of his own.
They were also roundly condemned by the purists, but Di Matteo said: “We don’t really care. We scored three goals against Barcelona.
“Arguably, we scored the best goal, with the Ramires goal. People can talk as much as they want. We went through over two legs.
“Two different styles of football, but we’re in the final.” (AFP)