Give Di Matteo the job! Lampard leads Chelsea players' calls to Abramovich
12:19 GMT, 26 April 2012
Frank Lampard has led Chelsea player calls for Roberto di Matteo to be handed the manager's job permanently in the wake of the heroics in Barcelona.
Di Matteo has revitalised the Blues' season, just seven weeks after replacing Andre Vilas Boas.
The club were in danger of ending the season trophyless and without Champions League football next year, but now they stand on the cusp of a domestic and European cup double.
You've got to hand it to him: Di Matteo has presided over a huge improvement in fortunes for Chelsea
In 15 matches in charge Di Matteo has lost only once – at Manchester City – with one of the 10 victories he has enjoyed a 5-1 defeat at Wembley that has also secured Chelsea's place in another cup final.
But Barcelona was not a one-off. It was a result, and over the two legs a victory, that came at the end of run that says Di Matteo is clearly having a major influence.
Midfielder Frank Lampard said: 'He deserves it completely. I can't speak highly enough of him. Look at our record (since he took charge) — it's not a coincidence.
Joy and pain: Chelsea celebrate while Barcelona were left to contemplate what could have been (below)
'He's got the group with an atmosphere, he's created a spirit and determination. The players were here, anyway, but what he has done in bringing them together and getting results like against Barcelona and others from before is amazing. Fair play to him.”
And midfielder John Obi Mikel feels the same way, he'd be happy for the Portuguese to take the job on a full-time basis.
He said: 'He is doing a good job and we have to keep supporting him. He's been magnificent with the team, he's speaking to the team, he knows how to put his around the players. His man-management is very good. The club will make the right decision.'
Wembley date: The Chelsea fans also have the FA Cup final to look forward to
And Gary Cahill added: 'He’s been fantastic since he’s been involved. The way that he’s used the players for different games has worked fantastically.'
The common argument is that Roberto Di Matteo lacks the experience to carry out the rebuilding work required at Stamford Bridge.
He clearly didn't expect Di Matteo to do as well as he has done. He was a stop-gap appointment, the 'interim' part of the job title he was given making that perfectly clear.
Unity: After a tricky spell under Andre Villas-Boas, Chelsea are now closing in on two trophies
He was a manager who had failed at West Brom and someone who only three years ago was watching his MK Dons side lose 1-0 to Walsall.
But what a remarkable job he has done, not only conquering Barcelona but Benfica before that and a Napoli side that appeared to be through to the last eight after the first leg encounter Villas-Boas had overseen.