Di Matteo looks on as John Terry takes charge of Chelsea
The Blues skipper says players do not run the club, but could he be planning a coup at Stamford Bridge?
THE ODDS of John Terry becoming the next Chelsea manager are 80/1, but after his press-conference performance ahead of the Blues' clash with Napoli in the Champions League tonight the bookies may have to reconsider.
The club captain dominated proceedings at the media call on Tuesday and although he dismissed claims that senior players controlled the club and had conspired to get Andre Villas Boas sacked, he left caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo looking surplus to requirements.
Terry answered almost all the questions and took a swipe at critics of the club, including former boss Luiz Felipe Scolari, who last week said that managing Chelsea was "hell".
"People talk about the senior players running this club but that is absolutely untrue," said Terry. "People speculating from outside and some previous managers are talking complete nonsense."
Terry also paid tribute to former England manager Fabio Capello, who resigned after the FA stripped Terry of the captain's armband over allegations of racism. He said he had "complete respect" for the Italian because he had the courage to back him.
Matt Lawton in the Daily Mail had no doubts about what was going on. "Alongside the emasculated figure of Roberto Di Matteo, John Terry finally took charge of Chelsea on Tuesday night," he wrote.
"It certainly seemed like that; certainly seemed like the senior players had seized control on the eve of what could be their last chance to win the Champions League together. A real win-or-bust situation.
"It was embarrassing for Di Matteo, reduced at Stamford Bridge to a bit-part player on what should have been the pinnacle of his managerial career."
Daniel Taylor in The Guardian said Di Matteo was reduced to "little more than a spare part at his own press conference".
And it is not the first time that Terry has grabbed the limelight. At the World Cup in 2010 he was accused of trying to stage a coup against Capello after announcing to the media that the squad would be holding a crisis meeting after England drew with Algeria, and even suggested that some players would be sent home.