The lofty expectations set by Roberto Di Matteo’s Champions League victory was his ultimate undoing at Chelsea.
Long gone are the days of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger. The modern managerial merry-go-round reigns supreme now; chewing up and spitting out prospective coaches before they even had a chance to place their favourite snow globe on the office desk. The English game is a savage land, it’s true. In 2017 Sky Sports found that the average tenure for a departing manager bottomed at 423 days, and we very much doubt this has improved since, considering the likes of Paul Scholes and Oldham Athletic happened (as per BBC Sport).
Indeed, with all the money, fame and pressure imposed on managers, particularly in the Premier League, it comes as no surprise that the longest-serving coach in the top flight, Eddie Howe, has managed just six years and 177 days in his position at Bournemouth (via talkSport).
As we observe the footballing world adapt to its new-found savagery, we have noticed new trends emerging. The ‘caretaker’ manager, for example. The caretaker or interim boss, whichever way you want to dress it, is someone who is typically introduced on a temporary basis as emergency relief; there to warm the seat for the next chump waiting to be gobbled up. But, on occasion, this minnow earns themselves a spot on the big stage.
Roberto Di Matteo was one of these ‘lucky’ few. After taking over from Andre-Villas Boas on a temporary basis in 2012, the Italian pulled off the impossible dream by guiding Chelsea to Champions League glory as well as amassing a pretty impressive record in the league. There was only one thing for it: give him the permanent job.
The real ability of a manager is tested when they break out of the honeymoon period; when players have settled, complacency has set in and the misery of the former steward has all but evaporated. Unfortunately for Di Matteo, this was his undoing. After five losses, eleven wins and four draws, Roman Abramovich swung his bloodied axe to end his servant’s reign. Ironically, the last Premier loss Di Matteo suffered against West Bromwich Albion was the same fixture that had seen Andre Villas-Boas sacked.
Two years after departing Stamford Bridge Schalke offered him a chance to coach in the Bundesliga. Though, after just one season, this ended in equally acrimonious fashion. Despite his obvious ineptness, Aston Villa’s Championship revival was awarded to him. Predictably, though, this didn’t end too well either, and after just 12 laborious games in charge, he departed donning a record of 0.83 points per game (as per Transfermarkt). Shocking.
Unsurprisingly he is yet to find another role.
Chelsea fans, do you think Roberto Di Matteo should have been afforded for time? Let us know in the comments below…
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