Di Matteo ready for tough start
As if that was not bad enough for Di Matteo, Albion's next three away games are at Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United. Despite that tough start, Di Matteo, twice an FA Cup winner with Chelsea, is upbeat in his ambition for Albion to get rid of their reputation as a yo-yo club after being promoted or relegated six times in the last nine seasons. Although only in his third year as a manager, Di Matteo feels that Albion have the ability to avoid relegation and eventually establish themselves in the Premier League. Di Matteo said: "I want to stay positive and believe we can stay up and remain up in the future. That is my personal aim, the players' aim and the club's aim. "I am very pleased with the group of players I have. They have been fantastic to me. Last season they gave me everything with effort and commitment. "But I do believe that we need to add a bit more competition, quality and experience to our team because we cannot dip into the loan market." Di Matteo, however, fully appreciates the size of his task and is hoping that Albion do not suffer the fate experienced by both Wigan and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge last season when they both sustained heavy and humiliating defeats at the hands of the champions. The Italian, making his first return to Stamford Bridge in a professional capacity, admitted: "As they are champions, I guess it is going to be a difficult game for us. "We will be playing the best team from last season and it is probably the hardest game we could get to start the new season. "But it would be tough for any club to face Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United in your first four away games. "We are in for a difficult time but the season is 38 games and it will not finish after those four away matches. "We have to keep in mind that we need to stay positive to and to remain balanced when we win or lose." Di Matteo was at Wembley last Sunday to run the rule over Chelsea as they were beaten by Manchester United in the Community Shield. He said: "The current team is a great side. They are all internationals, fantastic football players, a strong team which has pace, power and technical ability. That is why they are champions. "Watching them on Sunday you could see the tempo was not of the highest, especially in the first half but they did improve in the second period. "I do not know whether it will be emotional going back to Stamford Bridge. I know that I am going to be focussed in a bid to get a result. "This may be my first game in the Premiership as a manager but the Chelsea game will be about the club and the players, rather than me."