Embattled Manager of the Week: Roberto Di Matteo

Opinion » Embattled Manager of the Week: Roberto Di Matteo

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Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo
Di Matteo… Embattled (Img: Nick Potts)

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion continued Chelsea’s poor recent run, and suffice it to say manager Roberto Di Matteo – a Champions League and FA Cup winner as recently as May – is coming in for criticism from sections of the Stamford Bridge faithful. This week’s managerial debate comes courtesy of the good folks over at online Blues joints TalkChelea.net and CFCnet.co.uk

Stands accused of…

RyanDavidson, TalkChelsea.net…

IF Robbie keeps picking Torres and backing him as much as he has so far it will cost him his job. At least AVB had the balls to drop Torres. Also our 4-2-3-1 is far too predictable. Going 4-3-3 once in a while wouldn’t be too bad.

Alec_Cobas, CFCnet.co.uk…

Torres is awful, horrible. I’m done with it. He’s a totally inept and always complain when subbed. He doesn’t deserve to play and earn his inmense wages. Bertrand is not ready to be a starter at Chelsea, maybe never will be. Romeu and Mikel are not a proper midfield for a big team. And I can score more goals than Sturridge.

Disgusting result. Need to hear explanations from Di Matteo.

Belgiannutt, TalkChelsea.net…

I don’t think it really matters what system we play. It’s the personnel we employ. Today we played with 2 holding midfielders and it showed. Passing the ball was fine untill we reached the half way line. Then they just didn’t know what to do.
Hazard was playing on the nr 10 position but barely received any balls on that position. He constantly had to drop deep to receive the ball. If you want to get the best of Hazard when he’s playing on the 10 you need to play him between the lines. Not have him drop deep and distribute the ball. After half an hour he was put back on the wing so he could finally receive some decent balls in a forward area.
With Mata and Oscar we looked a little bit better but i still didn’t see any sort of recognisable system.
They just seem to run everywhere. There’s just no line in our way of play. There’s nothing on which our players can get their bearings.

Nichollz, CFCnet.co.uk…

It’s November and we’re sacrificing league games for the CL already? Deja vu or what, apart from there is no final in sight. Does no one remember that last season we finished 6th? We need every point. Not good enough RDM.

RamiCFC9, TalkChelsea.net…

If RDM was trying to implement an offensive style of play, that suits our new players, I would’ve been the first guy to defend him after a bad spell but the guy isn’t doing anything and is hopeless.

Scooba, CFCnet.co.uk…

I was really hoping to see Marin today, especially after going 2-1 down. Really don’t understand why RDM doesn’t play him. Hazard was far from his best today he should have been taken off for Marin.
Has he completely forgotten about pre-season? He was our best player against good opposition like Milan, PSG etc.

jernej93, TalkChelsea.net…

maybe we shouldn’t blame only defenders for this bad goal conceding ratio. Last year we had guys like Kalou infront and they were comfortable with playing defensive roles and style with deep defensive line was suited to us. But this year we have Hazard, Oscar, Marin, Mata, Sturridge and Moses. This players don’t have high defensive work rate and they can’t reach their full potential with this tactic. Our best defense with this team is attack! We should play “sexy” football with some best players in the world, but even WBA outplayed us yesterday with 79% possesion in first 15 minutes of second half.

I don’t like Italian managers, because of their defensive mentality.

JSLCampbell, CFCnet.co.uk…

I was absolutely mystified [by Di Matteo] letting Lukaku, Meireles and Essien go. That was our depth right there. Suprise Suprise, we’re struggling for depth in Attack and Midfield now.

We had Sturridge and Torres both on today and it wasn’t working. What the hell’s the next plan? There is none, no more strikers in the squad.

Leif, TalkChelsea.net…

In an interview after the West Brom game, apparently he said something along the lines of – “I’ll need to consider changes and other tactics.”

This just backs up the notion that he doesn’t have a ‘plan’ at all I guess. He’s decided who he wants to play, regardless of form or what happens in training, and yet he’s still hailed as a ‘great’ manager by many on here.
He’s a lovely guy, no doubt. But that doesn’t cut it.

Yes, he won the Champions League.. but how? By choosing the first 11, and then honestly, it looks as simple as telling them: “Listen to Drogba. He’ll tell you what to do. Play the sort of game you want to try and get the win.”
It worked. But that doesn’t make him some mastermind genius.

Zianfranco Gola, CFCnet.co.uk…

There are a number of issues with our play at the moment, but I feel the main reason we lost today was because we played a large portion of the game in a formation not suited to the players on the pitch. 4-2-3-1 works when we have the 3 playmakers. Their movement gives us control over the midfield that isn’t there when your central playmaker can be singled out and your other two attacking midfielders stick wide. If we’re going to play with wingers, we should be playing 4-3-3.

We looked better once Mata and Oscar came on, but it’s always harder for players like that to get settled into the game when they’re playing against a wall. Hindsight will say they should’ve started, and of course losing because you wanted to rest your stars, then being forced to play them to try in vain to rescue something will always reflect poorly on the manager, but I think Di Matteo’s mistake today was the way in which he set our first eleven up to play, rather than who was in it. West Brom had it easy for too long and were only really made to sweat in the last twenty minutes.

I really don’t buy into “we don’t have a good enough squad”. If West Brom had Victor Moses, Daniel Sturridge, Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill and Oriol Romeu on their books, they’d all be first teamers, or at the very least getting plenty of game time. Pretty much everybody in our squad is good enough to be starting a game (obviously not all at once). I just fear Di Matteo has settled into a formation he likes and wants to mould the players around it, rather than adapt depending on who he picks to play. It may not be fruitless endeavour in the long-run, but it’ll take more time than merely adjusting the shape on a game-by-game basis.

In his defence…

Sh0n3x, TalkChelsea.net…

I find it really difficult to judge RDM when he doesn’t have a world class striker…lots of times we play well, crosses are there, passes are there and shots are there, but goals are not…goalkeepers also tend to have storming matches against us…if Sturridge scored today when he went 1on1 I’m pretty sure we would have won. There were also a few chances against Liverpool where we could’ve simply won the game and also killed it of early but yet again, we failed to find the back of the net…
I won’t blame Robbie for that because we know that he club wanted to bring another striker before this season. There were approaches for Higuain, Lewandowski, Cavani, Shurrle and Falcao, yet we didn’t manage to bring anyone in probably due to the board refusing to let clubs pull our titties again which I applaud.

I’m really anxious to see what will happen in January and who will lead our front line in the 2nd half of the season.

UnseenCFC, CFCnet.co.uk…

This game was always going to be tough and WBA are def playing as a top 5 team at the moment.

Thought Luiz and Bertrand cost us points AGAIN!! The secret is out. Cross the ball from the left into Luiz direction and it will most likely end up as a very good goal opportunity. RDM needs to sit Luiz and Bertrand in Italy if he wants any chance in winning the game.

It’s also so obvious that with a decent striker we wouldn’t be in the position we are currently in. We create chances but neither of our strikers can capitalize. Sturridge was good today, just couldn’t put his chances away. Was Torres even playing?

I feel that until we buy a striker in the Jan transfer window we’ll just keep on dropping points.

Gotta love our winter slump.

Bridge Soldier, CFCnet.co.uk…

The thing I most like about Robbie is the way he handles the media. He deserves a lot of credit for being so calm, dealing with tricky questioning and generally representing the club. Whether or not he’s the right man to take us forward remains to be seen and I’ll only make judgment on that at the end of the season (if he makes it that far).

vitasrp, TalkChelsea.net…

I really can’t understand why people blame RDM for playing two holding midfielders in the double pivot. If Ramires was tired and wasn’t able to play 90 minutes, then how many options did we have? We have three central midfielders, one was tired, so RDM really had to play Mikel with Romeu, because we have no depth at that position. And believe me, even Guardiola can’t do miracles with three central midfielders at the moment..

Original21, CFCnet.co.uk…

Thin squad badly exposed. Can’t really blame the manager. He took a chance and was let down by poor defending and lousy finishing.

Hope the Board realise that Torres needs to be replaced. And that Bertrand is sadly not good enough to replace Ashley Cole.

Make no mistake we are in a ‘bad moment’.

50m for Falcao looks like a bargain right now.

Juventus next…

BlueLyon, TalkChelsea.net…

One thing is certain, if Pep comes, defensive problems wont be solved.

Bridge Soldier, CFCnet.co.uk…

Di Matteo needs to address certain problems. But it’s November. I would say a manager should be given more than a few months to transform a football team personally. Maybe I’m old fashioned.

However you look at it, RDM turned our season around last year. We have made wholesale changes in the last couple of years. In the style of play, the personnel, the core of the side. We are third in the league and have at times looked excellent. Our team isn’t a “disaster” by any means.

Las7, TalkChelsea.net…

I’m still behind RdM and feel he should stay till the end of the season!

But his fate will be decided during in the next 15 matches, if he continues to persist with Luiz and Torres, doesn’t find a way to improve our defense and we end up dropping off and getting into a scrap for 4th place; fail to qualify out of our CL Group it will simply mean that this transitional season is all he is going to get. The next Month and a Half is key – if we continue playing like this I will NOT be surprised if he is sacked by new year.

If we end up 3rd in the CL Group and loose some more points – even my support will waiver.

I personally don’t think Pep is the guy to take us forward – I’m not 100% certain whether what he did in Barca will translate to our club very well. But if he is the option Roman is looking at – he is by far one of the best CVs in the business, it’s just his mentality which worries me. He had mental fatigue while being coach of his child hood club – imagine the fallout if he doesn’t start well at Chelsea and the type of pressure he will be under.

Di Matteo: in or out, Chelsea fans? Have your say in the comments section below…


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