Roberto Di Matteo believes the Chelsea players have rekindled their passion for football. The Chelsea caretaker manager was quoted saying “I’ve been speaking to the players individually … to try and get them feeling the responsibility and make them aware of our targets, to bring a little bit of team spirit back, the spirit of sacrifice and passion for the game,”
The 41 year old manager has also claimed that he is welcoming of the player power that resides within the club “I’ve been coaching for some years now as well and I expect everybody to be involved and everybody to help each other on the pitch and the ones that are on the bench, and that’s what I believe in.” since his arrival, Chelsea have not only been undefeated but won all three games and have only conceded one goal. Whether it be a revival of passion or something entirely different their is a new sense of hope around Stamford Bridge.
Today’s Champions League draw saw Chelsea paired with S.L. Benfica, the Portuguese team played a vital role in knocking out Manchester United from the Group Stages and looked very good in the Last 16 after beating Zenit. The tie marks a return for David Luiz and Ramires to their former club and Ramires has already paid respect to his former coach, labelling him as one of the best in the world. The first leg will be played in Lisbon on March 27 before the return leg at Stamford Bridge on April 4. Should Chelsea progress they will face the reigning champions of either Serie A or La Liga in the form of A.C. Milan or Barcelona.
After being linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the summer, Michael Essien’s agent has denied reports of the midfielder setting his sights away from West London. However he did add in that Essien’s future may depend on the appointment of the next manager. Didier Drogba has remained insistent that he wants his future to be with the club that he has enjoyed most of his success with “I`m happy here, moments like Wednesday mean a lot. I hope there will be many more. A lot of people said this would be my last Champions League game but the adventure continues.” It remains to be seen whether the Ivorian will have his contract renewed but he has certainly made his feelings clear on the matter in recent days.
A final note – Good luck to the Chelsea youth team who are playing Manchester United in the FA youth cup semi-final today at Old Trafford in the first leg.