Di Matteo happy to assist

The Italian, sacked at The Hawthorns in February despite having won

promotion the previous season, was unveiled as part of the new

backroom staff at Stamford Bridge, where he spent six successful

years as a player before injury forced him to retire in 2002. Di

Matteo, however, insists there will be no problems with his

transition stepping back to an assistant role rather than the head

coach. “It is obviously a challenge for me but I don’t anticipate

any problems,” di Matteo told the club’s official website. “I have

got experience of being a manager, I know what it is like, and I

know what it is to be a coach, so I have a bit of both and I am

there to support Andre and any of the staff, to give what it takes

for us to be successful. That’s the ultimate challenge.” Di Matteo

admitted it was an unexpected opportunity. “His call came a bit out

of the blue to be honest,” said the 41-year-old, who also had an

impressive stint as MK Dons manager. “It is mostly based on the

fact that he likes my football philosophy and that is why he wants

me to be part of his team. “I think he likes to play football and

be positive and attacking and over the years if you have seen a

game or two of the teams I coached I think we played the same way.

“I liked my teams to try and win games rather than not lose, to

build, to pass. “He is going to be in charge of it and we are going

to be working the way he thinks is the right way to be successful.”

Chelsea players will return to Cobham for the start of pre-season

training this week, with new boss Villas-Boas maintaining there

would be no immediate transfers or new arrivals until he had time

to fully assess the current group. Having cancelled a game against

Vitesse Arnhem at the request of Villas-Boas, the Blues will go to

Portsmouth for their first official warm-up match on July 16 before

then travelling to the Far East ahead of the Asia Trophy, with a

date against Rangers in Glasgow on August 6. Chelsea start their

Premier League campaign at Stoke.