Heynckes back Di Matteo for Blues job
Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes has insisted Roberto Di Matteo should be given the Chelsea job full-time, regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s Champions League final.
Caretaker Blues boss Di Matteo will pit his wits against Heynckes at the Allianz Arena this weekend in what could be his last match in charge.
Di Matteo has admitted he does not think becoming the first manager to lead Chelsea to European Cup glory would make any difference to his hopes of being kept on permanently.
Were Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich to jettison him, he would become only the second man to lose his job immediately after winning the Champions League.
Heynckes was the first, having left Real Madrid after their 1998 triumph, and he saw no reason why Di Matteo should suffer the same fate.
The 67-year-old had nothing but praise for the sensational rescue act his opposite number had performed since replacing the sacked Andre Villas-Boas.
Heynckes said: "We must not forget that he has brought Chelsea all the way to the final with a very calm attitude.
"It seems he’s a very cool person who’s very much in control.
"Step by step, he’s improved contact with the players and created harmony. That harmony can be felt.
"He’s done a marvellous job and I can’t see why whether he wins tomorrow or not would have consequences. You need continuity.
"I don’t think there’s any argument against him continuing."
Heynckes claimed he had no problem with his own demise at Real, claiming he would have jumped had he not been pushed, and insisted he understood why Abramovich might want to appoint a manager who had won multiple titles.
But he added of Di Matteo: "He makes an excellent impression on me and, if I was Abramovich, I would continue with this young man."
Saturday’s match is also set to be Didier Drogba’s swansong in a Chelsea shirt, with the striker’s contract due to expire this summer.
Drogba has played this season like he has been on a mission to haul the Blues to European glory – by fair means or foul.
Heynckes did not shy away from both sides of the 34-year-old’s game.
"Drogba, for many years, has been one of the top strikers in the Premier League and is definitely dangerous – he can score at any moment," Heynckes said.
"Sometimes he overdoes it a bit. Sometimes he’s an outstanding actor on the pitch."
That was tellingly the only piece of criticism Heynckes offered against a Chelsea side who reached the final despite a Barclays Premier League season chairman Bruce Buck branded unsatisfactory.
Indeed, the Bayern boss was wary of the favourites’ tag bestowed upon his own team, largely as a result of them playing at their own ground.
However, he was determined to exploit that advantage to the full.
"We may not have this chance again, to play the final in our own stadium, the Allianz Arena," said Heynckes, who was chided by a UEFA official for not referring to the ground as the Fussball Arena Munchen, which it has been rebranded as for Saturday’s match.
"I’m going to talk to the team and perhaps drive the team bus through Munich, see everything with red and white flags and talk with the people.
"That would be fantastic preparation for a Champions League final.
"(Bayern president) Uli Hoeness said two years ago that he had a dream.
"The dream was to play the final of the Champions League in our own stadium. We’ve made it.
"This is where I’d like to limit these declarations.
"We’re playing a team with huge experience, fantastic organisation, outstanding players.
"If I look at the path of Chelsea through the group stage and in the knockout, they beat Napoli 4-1 – a team we played who are a top team – then beat Barcelona, the best team in the world. Then drew 2-2 there with a man down. That’s a sufficient warning for everybody.
"I don’t share the euphoria you hear outside that we’re the favourites. In a Champions League final, there is no favourite.
"At Chelsea, they have players who have won everything apart from this, and it’s their dream to win it, too.
"We may have a tiny advantage from playing at home in our own stadium, and we’ll have our own dressing room etc etc… so we know every blade of grass on the pitch.
"That could make a difference."