Roberto Di Matteo is an excellent manager and against all the odds has done a terrific job since he was thrown into the Stamford Bridge firing line as interim manager. But it would be bad for football if Chelsea go any further in the Champions League.

The problem is success for the Blues will be interpreted by Roman Abramovich as justification for his ridiculous policy of sacking managers on a whim.

The suspicion is that the mega rich Russian owner does not respect the role of the manager because he thinks he knows better and gives silent approval to the player power influences that have undermined more than most recent failure Andre Villas-Boas.

Can you imagine the triumphalism of Abramovich if Fernando Torres was to score the winning goal in the Champions League Final? The crazy thing about football is that the impossible sometimes does come true. And Di Matteo’s men are in touching distance of reaching the final four after tonight’s first leg 1-0 win over Benfica in Lisbon.

But then of course there is the magical Lionel Messi and his brilliant Barcelona team mates who will surely be waiting in the semi-final unless Milan can pull off the shock of the tournament so far.

– BY JOHN GUBBA

Di Matteo left out Lampard, Drogba and Essien in Lisbon – and Chelsea won 1-0

Di Matteo’s FA Cup Final goal against Middlesbrough in 1997 made him a Chelsea legend . . .

UPDATE: Chelsea complete the job against Benfica . . .

 

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