Di Matteo braced for Chelsea exit?

Roberto Di Matteo is Sky Bet's 2/5 favourite to be the next Premier League boss to go amid reports he is braced for the sack.

Last Updated: 21/11/12 at 08:38 Post Comment

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Sky Bet make Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo the 2/5 favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his job amid reports he is bracing himself for the axe.

The man who masterminded the greatest climax to a season in the Blues' history could find himself their latest dead man walking if they become the first holders to crash out of the Champions League before Christmas.

Tuesday night's 3-0 loss to Juventus - their heaviest ever in a group match - put them on the brink of doing just that, with Chelsea relying on a Shakhtar Donetsk side who have already qualified beating Juve to let them off the hook.

They must also win their own final Group E game against Nordsjaelland.

And while Di Matteo publicly vowed to "keep working" after the game, there are widespread reports he will be sacked by Roman Abramovich with Pep Guardiola, Rafael Benitez and Avram Grant being linked with the post.

Asked if he was confident he would still be in charge for the final group game and beyond, the Italian said: "At the moment, I think, with the team we are all in it together.

"At the moment, I am here and I think I will be for the future. It's probably not a question you should ask me but, as far as I'm concerned, I'll keep working."

Asked if sacking him would be fair considering everything he achieved last season, he added: "I'm the wrong person to answer that question."

Di Matteo risked Abramovich's wrath by dropping Fernando Torres in Turin and radically overhauling his tactics - and he took full responsibility afterwards.

He said: "I'm responsible for the result. I'm responsible for the performance. It's a negative evening for us.

"If anyone has to take the blame, it's me. I selected a team I was convinced was the right team to win against Juventus, or get at least a draw, so the blame belongs to me."

He added: "I'm responsible for positive and negative results. This is what I do."

Di Matteo took more than an hour to emerge for his post-match press conference but he said that was not because he had been grilled by senior club executives.

He defended his selection decisions but was left clutching at straws when assessing Chelsea's prospects of qualifying.

He said: "Well, mathematically, it's still possible. While there's hope you still try.

"Who says that Juventus aren't going to lose at Shakhtar? We just have to make we do our job at our end, win the last group game.

"With 10 points, normally...usually, it's enough. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it is."

Juventus assistant manager Angelo Alessio rubbished suggestions the Italian champions would not play competitively at Shakhtar in a game neither side need to win.

He said: "We're not used to going out trying to gain a draw. We will go there wanting to win."


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