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Saturday, May 26, 2012
Abramovich set to keep Di Matteo

Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

Roman Abramovich is ready to offer Roberto Di Matteo the Chelsea manager's job on a full-time basis as reward for guiding the club to Champions League glory, ESPN understands.

• Guardiola open to job offers
• Gourlay: Di Matteo still in contention

Di Matteo, 41, replaced Andre Villas-Boas in March and led the Blues to triumphs in the FA Cup and European Cup as interim boss.

Despite that success, Chelsea owner Abramovich has been unsure of whether to offer the Italian a permanent deal as he was thought to favour a move for departing Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

However, the Russian billionaire is now set to make a U-turn and offer Di Matteo the position as he is not confident of landing Guardiola and is unconvinced by the alternatives.

"I think Di Matteo will stay for one year," an ESPN source said. "It might not be ideal, but I am sure he would take it.

"I am sure he wants the job and will go for it, believing he can prove he is worth keeping. There is sure to be a decision sooner rather than later."

Meanwhile, Chelsea legend Ron Harris believes Di Matteo "transformed a very, very ordinary" side into European champions and would be a worthy long-term manager at Stamford Bridge.

"The body language of the players told you that they were not happy under the previous manager, Andre Villas-Boas had clearly upset to many of them," Harris said. "A blind man could tell that the players didn't seem happy.

"Roberto Di Matteo changed all that. Once he took over certain players found themselves again, they performed under him whereas they were not performing before, so that cannot be a coincidence.

"Di Matteo transformed what had become a very, very ordinary side. They finished some 20 points behind the Premier League winners, which tells you how bad it was for a team that had always been challenging for the title."

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