Di Matteo: Side before self
Roberto Di Matteo insists he could not care less if he had not got the credit he deserved for his remarkable success at Chelsea.
The John Terry racism scandal has completely overshadowed the fact that Di Matteo has masterminded arguably the most successful period in the club's history following his appointment almost eight months ago.
Not only did he end their agonising wait for Champions League glory but he has led them to the FA Cup a four-point advantage of the top of the Barclays Premier League and transformed them into the scintillating footballing side long demanded by owner Roman Abramovich.
Di Matteo has become increasingly frustrated at how the Terry saga has dominated recent press conferences but he claimed this afternoon he did not have a problem with a consequent lack of adulation for his side's performances.
"It doesn't matter at all," he said ahead of tomorrow night's Champions League clash with 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.
"I think the players 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."
Di Matteo is also deftly managing the transition that eventually needs to take place in the coming years as the club's 'old guard' reach the end of the road.
Didier Drogba has already departed, Frank Lampard is no longer an automatic choice in the final year of his contract and even Terry is not guaranteed to start when fit.
Di Matteo said of his experienced stars: "They have been very successful in our club for many years and still are very much a part of the spine of this team.
"And I think we have a new breed of players that are developing into new leaders to eventually take over because, obviously, everything will have an end at some time."