RDM: Blues hungrier than ever

The Blues finally ended their agonising wait for Champions

League glory in May, winning the trophy that had been their Holy

Grail ever since Roman Abramovich bought the club nine years


Having achieved their ultimate aim, the biggest danger for Di

Matteo and his squad may be motivating themselves to do it all over


But manager Di Matteo insisted this afternoon his players – who

are also FA Cup holders – had an insatiable appetite for success

ahead of a season in which they will compete for an unprecedented

seven trophies.

The first of those is up for grabs in Sunday’s traditional

curtain-raiser to the season, the Community Shield, which is being

played this year at Villa Park.

“There’s plenty of trophies to win this season,” Di Matteo said

ahead of the clash against Premier League champions Manchester


“We have a very driven team of players and they are never

satisfied with what they’ve done in the past.

“It’s a fresh start for us. It won’t be a problem from that

point of view.

“There are a couple of trophies our players have never won, and

challenging for the Premier League, too.

“We finished sixth last season and I don’t think anybody is

happy with that. We certainly have to do better.”

Indeed, avoiding a repeat of their lowest league finish of the

Abramovich era has to be a priority for Chelsea, who were a distant

25 points behind City and Manchester United in the final


“There was a big gap last season, and that is one of our

challenges this season, to bridge that gap,” Di Matteo said.

“Twenty-five points are a lot of points.

“It’ll be a tough season ahead but we’ll try and compete.”

Abramovich has left little doubt that is exactly what he expects

by splashing out another reported ?66million of his vast fortune on

the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin.

Despite being linked with several players themselves, City have

yet to spend a penny, which may give some of their title rivals a

better chance of toppling them.

“When you’re the top, it’s harder to stay at the top than get to

the top,” Di Matteo said.

“There’ll be plenty of clubs trying to catch them up this


Sunday is Chelsea’s chance to make a statement of intent against

the champions.

Despite playing down the significance of the outcome, Di Matteo

said: “To play and win against Manchester City would be a great win

for us.

“It would certainly give us the right step into the Premier


It would also end a run of three successive pre-season defeats

that have suggested integrating Chelsea’s new signings may prove

easier said than done.

With Brazil star Oscar still on Olympics duty ahead of

Saturday’s men’s final, it could be well into the season before the

pieces of the puzzle begin to fit into place.

Di Matteo refused to set a deadline for that to happen but it is

fair to say his job may depend on it being sooner rather than


And there could soon be more new signings to accommodate, with

Di Matteo admitting Chelsea were “a little bit light” up front and

confirming teenage striker Romelu Lukaku was set to go out on loan

to another Premier League club – seemingly West Brom.

The inscrutable Italian reacted with mock ignorance to Wigan

chairman Dave Whelan’s repeated public declarations that the Blues

were trying to buy Victor Moses, joking: “He generally doesn’t do

that, does he?”

He also refused to be drawn on Chelsea’s reported attempts to

buy Marseille right-back Cesar Azpilicueta.

And Di Matteo did not want to discuss the Football Association’s

decision to charge John Terry over allegations he racially abused

Anton Ferdinand despite the Chelsea captain being cleared of

essentially the same offence by a court of law.

Di Matteo said: “That’s a very delicate issue. I’ll keep my

thoughts private.”