On This Day: Di Matteo sacked by Chelsea
Chelsea confirmed a parting of ways with Roberto Di Matteo on this day in 2012 after losing to Juventus in the Champions League.
The Italian was surprisingly handed the reins on a caretaker basis at Chelsea following Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking in March 2012.
Di Matteo had until the end of the campaign to steady the ship and prove he was worthy of taking the job on a permanent basis.
He went on to exceed expectations after leading the west London outfit to their first and only Champions League title.
Domestically, Chelsea had to settle for sixth place although they were only five points adrift of Tottenham in fourth, and their European triumph earned a berth in the competition for 2012-13.
The former midfielder, who made 158 appearances for the Blues during an eight-year stay, also guided them to glory in the FA Cup during his debut campaign.
Chelsea fans were well on board with the former Italy international and it looked like he could enjoy a long stay at the helm. However, performances dropped off during his second term.
A run of two wins from eight games across all competitions through October and November, saw them well off the pace in the Premier League and all but eliminated from the Champions League.
After a 2-1 loss at West Brom, reports emerged that the board at Chelsea were starting to consider Di Matteo’s future.
They went on to lose the following game, a Champions League trip to Juventus, 3-0 and he was given the boot.
It brought to an end a whirlwind eight months, having won two major trophies, and many fans felt he deserved longer to turn things around.
Rafael Benitez was drafted in as his replacement until the end of the campaign and Chelsea went on to finish third.
Di Matteo, who was reportedly being paid £130,000-a-week as a pay-off settlement until June 2014, didn’t go back into work until October of that year when he linked up with Schalke.
The 49-year-old has never been able to repeat the success he achieved with the Londoners after unsuccessful spells with The Royal Blues and Aston Villa.