April 23 2014 Latest news:
Monday, October 8, 2012
Roberto Di Matteo denied there is any siege mentality driving Chelsea on to lead the Premier League pack after the Blues’ brushed aside Norwich City at Stamford Bridge.
The Italian watched his men move four points clear at the top of the early standings before facing another barrage of questions focussed entirely around the off field distractions sparked by John Terry and latterly Ashley Cole’s actions.
Di Matteo confirmed Cole is now the subject of an internal disciplinary investigation after his ill-advised critical tweet towards the FA following the publication of their written findings on Friday into Terry’s racial abuse case.
Terry had already announced his retirement from the England set up whilst Cole is reportedly set to be omitted for this week’s next World Cup qualifier against San Marino following his FA outburst. Di Matteo, however, insisted Chelsea’s latest emphatic win answered plenty of those questions.
“I think the results are telling us we are able to blank things out surrounding the football club and we can focus on our aim, our target and our job, which is to win football games,” he said. “No I don’t think there is a (siege mentality). That is not what we feel or I think is happening with us. I think we concentrate on our strengths and we try to win games with a football philosophy and at the moment the team is in a healthy form. It has proven how professional the group is and how well they respond.
“We are creating chances, scoring lots of goals and not just relying on one or two players. It is a team that is in good shape. I speak to my players all the time, not just because of certain issues. I judge them on what I see on the training ground and when they are there they are fully focused.”
Di Matteo did reiterate his players have a duty of care to the European champions with their public utterances.
“We have got a social media policy at the club and there will be a disciplinary process against that tweet,” he said. “I spoke to Ashley, but you would understand that is a private conversation.
“We did speak about it and other things, football matters, and he has apologised unreservedly. I think social media just has to be used responsibly. I’m not against it. It is the world we live in. It is a good way to communicate. If they breach a rule we have there has to be some consequences.
“But they seem to be enjoying playing football. That is what they love doing and they are lucky to do it as a job so we have to try and keep the momentum and form going.”
Di Matteo admitted Fernando Torres’ equaliser within three minutes of Grant Holt’s opener was a key factor in a comfortable win which maintained their best start to a Premier League season since the title-winning success of 2006.
“I thought it was an excellent performance,” he said. “We played some fantastic football, created a lot of chances and scored four and we could have got a couple more.
“Every team makes it difficult for you. They were fighting for points and for us after going 1-0 down it was crucial just to get that equaliser quickly. I think it really settled down the team and from there we never looked back. We scored the second and third and we wanted a couple more in the second half.
“I think we are just pleased that we go into the break top of the league. We have only played seven games but we are full of confidence and that will help us.
“As long as we don’t have many injuries we will chip away and try to win as many points as we can. I still think if you look at Manchester City and their squad and United they will be up there.”
Di Matteo also believes some of his fringe players, like ex-Norwich loanee Ryan Bertrand and the injured Daniel Sturridge, will also have massive roles to play over an arduous season.
“I’ve always said we have got a good squad and I am utilising it,” he said. “That is important we have those because so far we have been quite lucky with injuries but after the international break it is going to be a very tough fixture list.”