It's been an interesting six months for recently appointed Chelsea assistant manager Roberto Di Matteo who now views his dismissal by West Brom earlier in the year as a blessing in disguise.
In the eyes of many, the popular Italian was harshly sacked by Albion in February after taking the Baggies back into the Barclays Premier League with an exciting brand of football.
The former Italian international and Chelsea midfield legend was left in a state of shock following his departure from The Hawthorns, but he’s all smiles again now he’s back at the Bridge.
Whilst his dismissal was an unwanted setback, the 41-year-old can now see the positives he's been able to take since leaving the Midlands club, not least his new role with the Blues.
"I was quite happy [that I left West Brom] because I would not have otherwise had the chance to come here. Life somehow always turns out how it has to go," said the Chelsea No.2.
“About seven months ago I was sitting eighth in the [Premier League] table, we had a very good Christmas and people were asking me ‘where do you see yourself in two years? In a big job?’
“Then, by February, I was on a beach somewhere, out of a job. I think I did very well at West Brom, considering what our target was at the time. The footballing industry recognised that and I guess that is one of the reasons I am back at Chelsea. I didn’t see the sack coming, not at all."
After a few months out of the game, Di Matteo instantly struck up a relationship with Andre Villas-Boas after the former Porto boss was placed in charge at Stamford Bridge.
The pair share similar philosophies on how the game should be played, and Di Matteo has no fears over the lack of managerial experience Villas-Boas has at the highest level, explaining his experience within clubs will be more than enough.
"Andre’s only managed for a couple of years, but he has been around clubs for 15 years. He’s been in dressing rooms and around players, so he knows very well how to manage them. He knows what he is doing. I don’t see any problems," continued Di Matteo.
“We understood each other straightaway, and it’s been a very natural relationship. Our football ideologies were the same and it is something that we have not had to work on. It feels like we have known each other for 30 years.
“We work very well together and there is a good spirit within the whole of the backroom staff. We have very defined roles and we support each other. He’s very determined, he’s very driven and I don’t think he sees me as a threat for one second.”
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