Football Football

Di Matteo to pay for Chelsea CL flop


LONDON, England, November 21- Roberto di Matteo will pay for a crushing setback at Juventus Tuesday night, with Rafa Benitez lined up to replace him if Pep Guardiola refuses to take over at Chelsea before the summer.

A 3-0 defeat here leaves Chelsea in serious danger of becoming the first Champions League winners to suffer the humiliation of failing to progress beyond the group stage.

It took Di Matteo 75 minutes before he emerged afterwards and reflected on a run of one win in five games that has seen his team surrender the initiative in the Premier League and teeter on the brink of the Europa League.

“It’s a big disappointment for the team, for the club,’ said the Italian, who must now lift his side for the visit of league leaders Manchester City on Sunday.

“There was a lot of reflection. I am responsible for the result and performance. It’s a negative evening and if anyone has to take the blame it’s me. I selected a team I thought was the right team to win, or get a draw.’

Chelsea must beat Danish side Nordsjaelland in their final Group E game in two weeks and hope Juventus lose to Shakhtar Donetsk, who thrashed the Danes 5-2 last night. Shakhtar, who are definitely through, and Juve will both qualify at Chelsea’s expense if they draw in Ukraine next month.

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, added: ‘It is still possible to qualify. Where there is hope you must try. We have to do our job and win the last group game. Ten points is usually enough. Sometimes it’s not but a lot of times it is.

“I am responsible for the results. I am still here and as far as I’m concerned I will be for the future. I’m going to keep working.’

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.”