Wigan v Chelsea at DW Stadium: Match Preview
Roberto Di Matteo has vowed not to let his critics get to him as he attempts to prove Roman Abramovich was right to appoint him full-time Chelsea manager.
Despite masterminding the greatest triumph in the Blues' history last season by becoming the first man to lead them to Champions League glory, Di Matteo is among the favourites to be the first Barclays Premier League manager sacked ahead of the start of the season. Some doubt whether he was billionaire Chelsea owner Abramovich's first choice to be handed the reins following his incredible two-and-a-half-month spell as caretaker boss. Pep Guardiola was heavily linked with the job after quitting Barcelona and his lingering availability during a season-long sabbatical arguably has left Di Matteo under unprecedented pressure. The Italian saw first hand how poorly former boss Andre Villas-Boas coped with the weight of expectation at Stamford Bridge last term, with the 34-year-old seemingly unable to take any criticism that was levelled at him. Di Matteo can expect the same flak, and speculation over his future, should things start to go wrong but he was not worried about the naysayers now and also appeared unlikely to lose any sleep going forward. He said ahead of Sunday's Premier League opener at Wigan: "People write and talk and I respect what people want to say and sometimes it makes me smile.
"I get on with my job. That's the only thing I can influence, try to do my best and prepare my team as well as I can." Di Matteo claimed he did not feel under any more pressure than he had after being thrown in at the deep end in March. "The pressure is always there, whether you are appointed permanently or not," he said. "When you have to lead a club like this, you know it's a pressurised job." The former Chelsea midfielder added: "I felt responsible last season, there was a lot at stake, and the same this year. "This club means a lot to me and I will try and do everything I can to be successful here." The 42-year-old acknowledged winning the Champions League had marginally raised expectation levels of his side this season. "It might have added a little bit of pressure to it," he said. "But it was always so high anyway. "It's an ambitious club and we know that we have to try to win trophies and be successful."
Roberto Martinez is willing to select Victor Moses in his Wigan side to face Chelsea, but is braced for the phone to ring with news that the striker is leaving for the London club. The 21-year-old forward has courted interest from the Champions League winners this summer, with Wigan chairman Dave Whelan accusing them of "messing about" in their pursuit of him. He wants them to stump up a fee of £9million but, as that valuation has yet to be met, Moses remains available for Martinez to pick. He intends to do that on Sunday but, should Chelsea or any other club decide to rustle up the necessary funds, he could be shorn of one of his key performers last season. As a result, he has called for the transfer window to be changed so that it is only open during the off-season, saying: "I don't like it, I have expressed many times that I don't agree with the transfer window going on while there are official games. "I have always said that. I do feel there is a need for a transfer window, it is beneficial, but I don't think it helps when it is open when you are playing official games. It happens everywhere, it gives you uncertainty and I don't think that helps the game. The players are footballers but they are human beings."
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