Give it to Roberto
Paul Elliott says Chelsea's win over Barcelona shows Roberto Di Matteo is the man for the job full time.
Last Updated: 19/04/12 1:59pm
Paul Elliott says Roberto Di Matteo has proved he is the right man to take over at Chelsea on a full-time basis.
The Blues have only lost once in 13 matches since the former MK Dons and West Brom boss took over from Andre Villas-Boas on a caretaker basis in March and on Wednesday night he masterminded a memorable defensive display against Barcelona as they secured a 1-0 lead in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final.
Elliott, who played for Chelsea from 1991 to 1994, believes the Italian has done well to unite the Chelsea dressing room and believes he should be given the job, even if they lose the second leg next Tuesday.
"If you look at the Di Matteo since he's come to the fore, he's created a stability," he told Sky Sports News.
"His man-management, particularly with the senior players, has been excellent and I think the two areas have combined in positive outcomes and consistent outcomes.
"They've only been defeated once in 13 games, which is very, very good indeed. In my view that shows Di Matteo to be a manager of outstanding order.
"I've always believed he's the right man for the job.
"He's been a top-class player for Chelsea, idolised by the supporters and thereafter he went and learned his trade with MK Dons and managed in the Premier League with West Bromwich Albion before he came back as AVB's number two.
"For me, he's got all the credentials there possible, regardless of the outcome in the Nou Camp. Obviously one hopes it's going to be a positive one.
"For me Di Matteo has reignited his managerial career and shown at 42-years-of-age that he's a highly gifted, intelligent and humble young man.
"In my opinion he certainly merits the job full-time."
Chelsea take a 1-0 advantage to the Nou Camp on Tuesday, where Barcelona are yet to lose this season having scored 102 goals, conceding only 16, in their 26 games.
But Elliott is backing Di Matteo's side to score a vital away goal - as long as they can withstand a wave of early pressure from the Spanish champions.
He added: "It's not for me to tell Di Matteo how to do his job, but I think the most important thing will be the first 20 minutes.
"The Nou Camp is a wider pitch, a vast pitch and there's going to be 90,000 intimidating supporters there. Barcelona have got a phenomenal record at home; they score goals for fun and don't concede too many.
"At the end of the day, it's going to be a very strong, positive, collective performance with lots of concentration. The rear guard is absolutely intrinsic because they can't afford to concede very early. I sense that Barcelona will, within the first 20 minutes, want to redress that balance.
"It's about contain and counter. Chelsea have got to withstand the pressure and thereafter I still think Chelsea are good to get a goal at the Nou Camp."