Di Matteo reign relies on Cup win

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Roberto Di Matteo must win the FA Cup and finish in the Premier League's top four if he harbours genuine ambitions of becoming the full-time Chelsea manager, according to former boss Claudio Ranieri.

The Blues reached the FA Cup final on Sunday with an emphatic 5-1 win over Spurs, while they face Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first-leg on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, just two points separate them from fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, a position that could provide their only route back into Europe's premier club competition should they fall foul of the Catalan giants.

"Roberto has started very well," Ranieri told BBC Sport.

"Roberto is the right man to do something good there. "If he achieves the FA Cup and fourth place, then why not?

"Experience is not necessarily important," added Ranieri.

"Villas-Boas is clearly a good manager - he won a lot at Porto. Look at Pep Guardiola at Barcelona too - he also started very young at a big club. Your age is not important. What is important is the ideas you transmit to your players.

"Villas-Boas was unlucky because he wanted to do something new. But there is a team there with experienced players and it is important to use them in the right way. If you put in younger players only sometimes, rather than change things a lot, then that is how I would do it."

Roman Abramovich's first season as Chelsea owner tuned out to be Ranieri's last as the manager, only reaching the Champions League semi-final and finishing second in the Premier League as he was replaced by Porto's Jose Mourinho.

Defeat in that European semi-final, at the hands of Monaco, was the beginning of the end for Ranieri, whose side let a two-goal lead slip in the second leg, eventually going out of the competition 5-3 on aggregate.

The 60-year-old believes the defeat was the turning point in his career at Stamford Bridge.

"I will always remember that match because we were very unlucky," said Ranieri.

"If it had finished 2-0 to us, it would have changed the result of the match. If it changed the match, it would have changed my life. It would have changed everything."

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