Belfast Telegraph

Di Matteo relaxed about player power

Roberto Di Matteo insists he had no problem with John Terry or any other Chelsea player barking orders from the bench.

Accusations of player power at Stamford Bridge emerged again on Wednesday night when Blues captain Terry was pictured urging Michael Essien to drop back into defence during the club's thrilling Champions League triumph over Napoli. That came just 24 hours after Terry had branded claims he and other senior stars ran the dressing room as "complete nonsense".

Caretaker boss Di Matteo said: "I've had a long playing career myself at the highest level. I've been coaching for some years now as well and I expect everybody to be involved and everybody to help each other on the pitch and the ones that are on the bench, and that's what I believe in."

Di Matteo drew the line at inviting Terry into his inner sanctum, despite the defender's desire to manage Chelsea when he hangs up his boots.

"I think he's still too young for that," he said.

"I can help him with his coaching badges maybe first! But he's got so many years ahead of him playing and I would always recommend to any players to play as long as they can, because that's the best part of a footballing career."

Asked if Terry was a potential manager, Di Matteo added: "I don't know because, when I was playing, I watched around myself and it's really difficult to see who is actually going to become one or not. It depends how life goes and what events happen in your life."

Eddie Newton, who Di Matteo appointed to his coaching team when Villas-Boas left, admitted on Wednesday he would find it impossible to turn down an invitation to stay on beyond the end of the season.

Di Matteo once again refused to be drawn on his own desire to succeed Villas-Boas full-time and also declined to comment on whether he and the Portuguese were still in touch.

"That's my private life, which I don't want to really talk about," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph