Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay has hailed the performance of interim manager of the club Roberto Di Matteo saying it is a the ‘phenomenal turnaround’ of the club’s fortunes but has refused to endorse Roberto Di Matteo for the permanent manager’s position following last night’s historic Champions League victory.
The Blues won the Champions League for the first time in a thrilling 4-3 penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw after extra-time.
The win, which follows the 2-1 defeat of Liverpool in the FA Cup final two weeks ago, is even more remarkable given the precarious position the team were in when Di Matteo was appointed until the end of the season after the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas in March.
‘It’s been an incredible few months and a great ending last night with winning the trophy,’ Gourlay said after owner Roman Abramovich finally saw the club he has invested £1 billion in since taking over in 2003 win the Champions League.
‘The performances and results weren’t there so we had to make the change, we brought Robbie in as interim manager until the end of the season and we’ve seen a phenomenal change and a run of results which finished last night with winning the Champions League,’ Gourlay said.
On whether the Italian had done enough to be get the job for next season, the chief executive added: ‘There’s a number of things we’ve got to look at and we’ll review where we are and take it from there, but it’s a phenomenal turnaround really.’
Blues chairman Bruce Buck meanwhile assured Di Matteo of ‘serious consideration’.
‘He’s done an amazing job, Robbie, he’s enabled the players to get back the confidence they used to have and he’s really got the players performing,’ he said.
‘We’ve put [managerial speculation] aside for the last six or eight weeks, concentrating on [semi-final opponents] Barcelona, the FA Cup and Bayern Munich, but I think now we have to sit down and figure that out.
‘Roberto is certainly in the mix; he’s done a great job and has to have serious consideration.’
Buck, who said the club would appoint a new manager ‘sooner rather than later’, went on to say: ‘We really need to get the new manager on board before we can start talking about signing players.’
The future of one of the central figures of last night’s triumph, Didier Drogba, is also uncertain, with the Ivorian striker who scored the equaliser in normal time and the winning penalty out of contract this summer.
‘Didier is a big-match player and he did it once again,’ Buck said of the 34-year-old.
‘I think Ron Gourlay is going to sit down with his agent this week and we’ll see where it goes.
‘We have to do what’s best for Chelsea Football Club and Didier had to do what’s best for him, we’ll just see how the discussions go.’