Chelsea: Is Roberto Di Matteo Chelsea's greatest ever manager?
Here is why I think he could be Chelsea's greatest ever manager.
1. His use of resources
Remember this? RDM managing at West Brom. It must be confusing to see them play in an attacking tactic under him, right? Especially after his exploits with Chelsea this year!
Believe it or not, RDM can set up an attacking team as easily as an ultra defensive team, all due to his superb resource management skills. When he has a team which cannot hold possession, he converts them into a defensive unit with counter attack as their priority against the likes of Barca and Bayern Munich while, he also exposed Napoli’s aerial weakness in the second leg of their CL encounter.
Last year, this guy had an epic defensive lineup (which is there this year too) comprising of Terry, Luiz, Cole, Ivanovic and Cahill along with the surprise package of the season, Bertrand. These players were used with epic efficiency by RDM and it bore fruits. Meanwhile, the prospects in front looked bleak since Mata had to cope with exhaustion, Torres was misfiring and Drogba (according to me) was unconvincing. Sturridge and Lukaku were totally out of the picture then.
Now, can anyone name me one manager who has, with this kind of team, ever won a good piece of silverware? Let alone the Champions League!
This year, we have a formidable lineup with the likes of Hazard, Marin and some others joining in. It would be interesting to see how RDM utilizes the squad and whether Abramovic’s dream of seeing us play like a legendary team will come true.
2. Realistic goals
In my eyes, RDM has been PATHETIC in the league and a MERCENARY in both the Champions League and FA Cup.
Still, I guess the pathetic performance in the league may have been due to his assumption that we didn’t stand any chance and should now look at what we can still get back from this campaign (I give him the benefit of doubt) and well, that was fantastic. He sent second grade squads against Newcastle, Liverpool and especially Blackburn so that he could get the first XI for both the semis and finals in perfect shape. This has to be applauded since during the same time in Ancelotti’s reign, we handed the league title, FA Cup and the Champions League to United, City and Barca (we lost to them though Inter won it in the end), all near the same time.
Then, Ancelotti had huge pressure to perform in the league as they were the defending champions but he crumbled with the result when we lost in the Champions League and though we came second in the league, ended the season trophyless.
3. Players' backing
The way RDM is managing the dressing room must be really good since he is one of the few managers whom the Chelsea players have themselves lauded (though this remains to be seen whether this was due to the successful campaign). Also he may now get even better backing with the likes of Sturridge and Lukaku seeking departures permanently and on loan respectively.
I believe that RDM will continue in his 4-2-3-1 formation which may look like this:
Debuchy/Pisczek Terry Luiz Ashley Cole
Jovetic/Hulk/Ramires Hazard Mata
Of course Chelsea have had great managers before. Jose Mourinho ended our 50-year wait for the league title and is still a huge hero to the fans. Ted Drake won the league in 1955, Gianluca Vialli won numerous cups while in charge and Ancelotti won the double in his first season. Roberto Di Matteo rightly has his place amongst those greats, but is he the greatest?
Calling all Chelsea fans: Do you agree with Tapan? Is Roberto Di Matteo a tactical genius who manages to get the best out of what he has to work with? Is the Italian a lucky manager? Di Matteo's place in Chelsea history is secured after the Champions League success, but is he really the club's greatest manager? Whatever your view, we'd love to hear from you.