Belfast Telegraph

Di Matteo focuses on top four spot

Roberto Di Matteo has refused to rule out his next job being as an assistant manager, despite his spectacular success as Chelsea caretaker boss.

Di Matteo has gone from no-hoper to serious contender to succeed Andre Villas-Boas on a permanent basis after an astonishing eight weeks in the Stamford Bridge hotseat.

Despite having led Chelsea to the Champions League and FA Cup finals, the Italian was none the wiser on Friday as to his long-term future, and said: "Whatever happens in the future, I'll think about it and see what is the right choice."

Reports suggest owner Roman Abramovich will pull out all the stops to land Pep Guardiola, who confirmed he was quitting Barcelona at the end of the season. Guardiola plans to take a sabbatical from the game but if he could be convinced to change his mind, that could leave Di Matteo looking for a new job.

There would be no shortage of suitors for the 41-year-old but there might also be the option of returning to the assistant role he held under Villas-Boas.

The former MK Dons and West Brom boss said: "When I decided to become a number two, I didn't look at it as a step backwards. I thought it was an exciting journey for myself, to be able to work with one of the best coaches in European football and for this club, which is in my heart. Sometimes in life you take a step back and two forwards."

Di Matteo's number one priority upon his appointment was ensuring Chelsea qualified for next season's Champions League.

And despite their cup success, they remain in real danger of failing to do so after slipping to sixth in the Barclays Premier League, four points behind fourth-placed Newcastle.

If they are not to leave themselves having to win the Champions League to reach next season's competition, it would appear imperative they win Sunday's west London derby against QPR and Wednesday's head-to-head clash with Newcastle.

Di Matteo said: "We have to win our games and then see what the other results are. We are under pressure to win our games. That's our position."

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