Wednesday 21 February 2018

No Chelsea decision on Roberto Di Matteo’s future until after Champions’ League Final

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo. Photo: PA
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo. Photo: PA

CHELSEA chief executive Ron Gourlay today reassured Roberto Di Matteo that no decision would be taken on his future until after the Champions League final.

Gourlay also insisted contract talks with Didier Drogba were ongoing ahead of what could be both the striker's and caretaker manager Di Matteo's final game at the club in nine days' time.

Reports today claimed Di Matteo feared he had not done enough to convince Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to hand him the reins full-time, regardless of the outcome of next Saturday's showdown with Bayern Munich.

But speaking at the official launch of the club's partnership with the Sauber Formula One team, Gourlay told Press Association Sport: "The club said from day one when he came in as interim manager that we would assess things at the end of the season.

"We've not changed our approach.

"Robbie is completely on board with that and the last person who's going to put any pressure on the team at this stage is me."

Gourlay refused to be drawn on whether Di Matteo was a candidate to succeed Andre Villas-Boas full-time, despite the spectacular transformation in Chelsea's fortunes the Italian had overseen since his appointment just over two months ago.

He was also tight-lipped over the likelihood of agreeing an 11th-hour deal with Drogba, amid reports the club were refusing to budge on the forward's demands for a two-year extension.

"We continue to discuss with Didier the situation," said Gourlay, who was last year prepared to offer only a new one-year contract.

"Didier loves this football club, we love Didier, and we'll continue to have the conversations.

"Didier and the rest of the team are completely focused on what we've got to achieve in the next week and, once that's finished, we'll sit down."

Gourlay was speaking ahead of the first F1 race to see Chelsea's crest appear on the Sauber team's vehicles, this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

He said: "One of our consultants, ECN, approached us to see if we'd be interested in a unique partnership between Formula One and football.

"I met with the Sauber team over a couple of months and here we are today.

"It's a really exciting project that I think we're about to delve into."

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