CHELSEA caretaker manager Roberto di Matteo has issued a rallying cry ahead of tonight’s FA Cup fifth round replay against Birmingham at St Andrews.
The former Blues midfielder has been placed in temporary charge following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas on Sunday and took charge of his first training session yesterday.
The Italian has appointed his former Chelsea team-mate and assistant at MK Dons and West Brom, Eddie Newton, to his backroom staff.
The duo’s first assignment will be to plot a safe passage through to the FA Cup quarter finals and Di Matteo is confident his charges can respond to the challenge of salvaging Chelsea’s season.
“We have to focus on the next game, which is against Birmingham. We have to try to win the next game, which is how we are going to be from now until the end of the season – we are going to focus on game by game,” he said.
“Our duty now is to look forward and to try to get the results that we need in the league, the Champions League and in the FA Cup to have a good season.”
Addressing the Chelsea fans, Di Matteo added: “I am one of them. It hurts me to see our club in this position.
“I can give them my full commitment to the end of the season, with the passion I have for my job for this club. It is has been a big part of my life.
“I will try to transmit this to the players, they are all on board and want to do well for us and we need to show it on the pitch.”
Di Matteo is sweating on the fitness of left-back Ashely Cole who is struggling with an ankle injury while club captain John Terry still out with knee damage.