Since succeeding Andre Villas-Boas in March, Di Matteo has led Chelsea to a first Champions League title and an FA Cup victory and has this season taken them to the top of the Premier League. It is largely in an uncharacteristically impressive style that Chelsea have competed this term but the Italian is unconvinced about the merits of any particular attention and instead continues to focus on their play.
“It doesn’t matter at all,” said Di Matteo ahead of tonight’s Champions League Group E fixture away to Shakhtar Donetsk. “I’m just happy to be leading this group and working with these players and working for the club that I have in my heart.
“The players deserve all this credit because it’s been extremely difficult last season and also this season evolving our system of play and integrating new players and so on. I’m just here to help and do my job as good as I can and hopefully that will carry on for a long time for us.”
Chelsea captain John Terry will tonight be asked to wear an anti-racism armband if he is selected to lead his team out in Ukraine. The defender accepted a four-match ban from the Football Association for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand but remains available for European competition and is consequently likely to start.
Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu has warned Chelsea to expect a more difficult challenge than that encountered in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Tottenham, however. “Our team’s level is higher,” he said.