Belfast Telegraph

Di Matteo deserves Blues job - Hughes

QPR manager Mark Hughes believes former Chelsea team-mate Roberto Di Matteo has done enough to become the Blues' permanent boss following his success since taking over on an interim basis.

Di Matteo has guided Chelsea to the FA Cup final and also masterminded a semi-final win over Barcelona in the Champions League, results which have seen his odds to take the job full-time dramatically shorten.

Hughes leads his relegation-threatened side into Stamford Bridge on Sunday and reckons the success of Barcelona proves that Di Matteo could be the man to lead Chelsea into next season and beyond, saying: "I think it (the result) was fantastic for Chelsea, it was a huge performance by them and they deserve every credit."

He added: "He has done great and I think Robbie would obviously be delighted he has the opportunity that has been presented to him - he had to grab it with both hands and that is what he has done.

"I think the fact he was in and around the group with the previous manager meant he understood the issues the group had with the previous manager and he has been able to go in and, from the outside looking in it, it looks like he has been able to address issues.

"Who knows (if he will get the job). He has done his prospects no harm whatsoever. I think he has done everything that could be asked of him and that is credit to him because it was difficult circumstances as he was involved with the previous management team but he has come through."

The club's fortunes have turned around since the departure of Andre Villas-Boas but Hughes believes only Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich knows if Di Matteo will get the job. He said: "He has given himself a shot at it certainly - it is not up to me, there is only one guy who makes the decisions at Chelsea, I think we all know that."

Sunday's match will be Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand's first trip to the home of his side's arch-rivals since October's reverse fixture, after which allegations emerged he had been racially abused by Terry, something Terry categorically denies.

The Premier League have cancelled the pre-match handshake ritual, something that did not exist during Hughes' playing career and a part of the game that seems to only be mentioned in a bad way.

"When I was playing we just used to run around, we didn't even have warm ups to be honest. We would come out two minutes before the referee blew the whistle and got on with it," he said. "Sometimes it is easier to accentuate the negatives rather than the positives of what is a fantastic sport that we are involved in."

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