Roberto Di Matteo Unveiled As Chelsea's Assistant Managerby Jack Kitson / 30 June 2011, 09:41
New Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has made his first major coup since taking over from Carlo Ancelotti last week. The 33-year-old has persuaded the former Chelsea favourite Roberto Di Matteo to come and join him at Stamford Bridge as his number two as he begins to assemble a team off the pitch that matches the quality on it. Villas-Boas spoke of the Italian's flair and winning philosophy as attractive components, which suit his own managerial style and attacking mentality.
The ex West Brom boss has been linked with a plethora of Premier League and Championship clubs since his abrupt sacking in February. Whether his decision to join Chelsea is a case of running out of options or the lure of working with one of the biggest club's in the world, is open to debate. Di Matteo's new role as an assistant may be viewed as a step down by many, as he has already established himself as a manager, a relatively good one too.
Di Matteo's first managerial role was in 2008 when he joined the League One side MK Dons. After leading them to a third place finish the club just failed short of winning promotion, losing to Scunthorpe on penalties in the play-off semi-finals. Despite that disappointment he had caught the eye of Championship side West Brom, with whom he joined in the summer of 2009. In his first season at the West Midlands club he impressively guided them up to the Premier League after finishing the campaign second behind Newcastle United. Despite a bright start to life in the top flight West Brom hit a rough patch over the Christmas period and as a result the board decided to axe the Italian, who has since been looking for a return to football.
Di Matteo will be a welcome addition to the Chelsea backroom staff as he is fondly remembered at Stamford Bridge after enjoying a successful playing career at the club. The 41-year-old made over 100 appearances for the Blues between 1996 and 2002, winning a couple of FA Cups, a League Cup, UEFA Cup Winner's Cup, UEFA Super Cup and a Charity Shield. His most memorable moment was scoring a stunning opening goal, after just 42 seconds (then an FA Cup record), in Chelsea's 1997 FA Cup final against Middlesbrough.
With the talented young Portuguese coach Villas Boas spearheading the Chelsea revolution it looks to be an exciting time to be working at the Bridge, so on that basis Di Matteo looks to have made the right decision. However, should the right managerial vacancy come up then he should definitely take it and continue his progress as a manager.
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