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
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
Despite playing down the significance of the outcome, Di Matteo
said: “To play and win against Manchester City would be a great win
“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