Roberto Di Matteo sacked after Chelsea humiliated in Europe

Nov 21, 2012
Bill Mann

Defeat at Juventus means the Champions League holders face going out at group stage

Alex Livesey

Juventus 3 Chelsea 0. Roberto Di Matteo was sacked as Chelsea manager this morning following last night’s defeat at Juventus. In a statement the club said "the team's recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction". An announcement about a successor is expected "shortly".

There is no doubt last night’s result was a disaster for the club. Chelsea are on the brink of becoming the first holders of the Champions League to go out of the competition at the group stage. They can only survive if they win their final group match against FC Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge while praying Juventus fail to pick up so much as a point against Shakhtar Donetsk.

It's a long shot, what with Juventus's current form, and the spectre of Chelsea falling at the first hurdle of their defence of the trophy they won in such dramatic fashion last May was clearly too much for club owner Roman Abramovich to stomach.

Juventus were worthy winners against a Chelsea side that have won just one of their last five matches in all competitions. The Italian champions took the lead on 38 minutes when Fabio Quagliarella deflected Andrea Pirlo's shot beyond Petr Cech, and Arturo Vidal made it 2-0 on the hour mark. The rout was complete when Sebastian Giovinco poked the ball into the visitors' net on the stroke of full-time.

Despite fielding a team containing 11 internationals, Chelsea were outclassed from the start with Cech needing to be on his toes to keep out a Pirlo free-kick and a stinging shot from Quagliarella.

With a crucial Premier League fixture against Manchester City coming up next Sunday, Di Matteo could clearly see the writing on the wall last night.

"I'm responsible for the result and I'm responsible for the performance," said the Italian, who signed a two-year contract in June. "It's a negative evening for us and if anyone has to take the blame, it's me."

Chelsea's thumping defeat, and Shakhtar Donetsk's 5-2 thrashing of Nordsjaelland, leaves the Blues third in Group E, three points behind the Ukrainian leaders and two shy of Juventus. "Mathematically, it's still possible to qualify for the next round," Di Matteo mused. "Who says that Juventus are not going to lose at Shakhtar in their final game?"

If they do, Di Matteo won’t be around to enjoy the moment.

Not that it matters to Abramovich, but Di Matteo wasn't the only British manager to see his team lose last night in the Champions League. Manchester United went down 1-0 to Galatasary and Celtic followed their famous victory over Barcelona with a 2-1 defeat at Benfica.

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