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Di Matteo calm over Chelsea future
Published : 11 May 2012 17:16:56
Roberto Di Matteo has insisted he did not feel like a dead man walking ahead of Chelsea's Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
It was claimed this week that caretaker Blues boss Di Matteo was resigned to being snubbed in his bid to land the manager's job full-time, regardless of the outcome of next Saturday's showdown at the Allianz Arena.
Asked if he felt like a "goner", Di Matteo said: "No, no, no. I feel part of this club. I focus on the team and the players, and what we're looking forward to in the next eight days."
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay has reassured Di Matteo no decision on his future would be made until after the Champions League final, but that was immediately followed by reports owner Roman Abramovich was hell bent on persuading Pep Guardiola to take over this summer.
'Dead man walking' was the moniker famously given to the first manager jettisoned by billionaire Russian Abramovich, Claudio Ranieri, who was sacked after reaching the Champions League semi-finals. Abramovich also had no qualms axing Avram Grant four years ago, despite the Israeli leading Chelsea to their first final.
Di Matteo has already improved upon both those feats by winning the FA Cup during what has been a real Houdini act since his appointment just over two months ago.
But his number one target was qualifying for next season's Champions League and - having managed only a sixth-placed finish in the Barclays Premier League - he might have given Abramovich an excuse for overlooking him if he does not do so by winning next Saturday.
Asked if he felt his job was on the line, Di Matteo said: "I'm not thinking about that. It's not about me, it's about Chelsea. The players have a fantastic opportunity to achieve something very special."
Sunday's game could also be Didier Drogba's last at Stamford Bridge, with the striker set to quit Chelsea this summer when his contract expires.
Gourlay said an 11th-hour agreement to extend it could yet be reached and Di Matteo insisted Drogba was "absolutely" still good enough to stay at the club.