Jan Molby

Talk of Di Matteo exit seems very rash

Jan Molby

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There's no doubt that Chelsea are going through a difficult run of form but to talk about Roberto Di Matteo 'facing the sack', as some newspapers are doing on Monday morning, seems very premature.

Di Matteo has been tasked with overhauling the way Chelsea play and you have to give him the time to properly oversee such a big project. They have shown this year that they are not a million miles away from being a very exciting team. If they back him with a new striker in January then that will certainly help.

Chelsea won the Champions League last season playing an entirely different brand of football but he has had to accommodate summer signings like Eden Hazard and Oscar and has rebuilt Chelsea in an attacking image. Initially it worked well but they have lost their shape a bit of late, and that has surprised me.

Given how the squad and the style has changed I find it almost impossible to weigh up what kind of manager Di Matteo is. Is he lucky? Is he a genius? Is he just a striker away from one of the great Premier League sides? I just don't know.

There are always rumours linking Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho with the job and there is a suspicion that Roman Abramovich is always looking for a top-calibre manager, with Di Matteo just acting as a stop-gap. I think there is some truth to that. If you have the wealth that Abramovich does then you are used to the very best. It pays to pay for the best, and he certainly isn't afraid to pay.

There are a few question marks about Di Matteo, that is for sure. But Chelsea are still third in the table and in with a chance of winning the Champions League so to talk of him losing his job seems wildly unfair, even if their form is becoming rather alarming with only two wins in seven in all competitions.

They have some evident weaknesses in the team, the obvious one being that they concede too many goals. During Saturday's defeat to West Brom the two centre-halves - Gary Cahill and David Luiz - were getting caught too high up the pitch and they were exposed by the home side.

Chelsea will really miss John Terry during his spell out with injury. Whatever you say about him as a man, look at how England played against Zlatan Ibrahimovic without him in the side. Look at how Chelsea have defended without him in the past few weeks. He is worth all the trouble and it is vital that they get him back soon as he is the one who organises the defence and he gets them to hold the defensive line. They are certainly better with him than without him.

Luiz divides opinion but I think he is a disaster as a central defender. I love central defenders who can play the ball from the back and create things but he just doesn't take his defensive responsibilities seriously. There are times when you just have to defend. He will get away with it sometimes but his eccentricity is affecting Cahill alongside him.

The state of the Chelsea defence will be under scrutiny again when they visit Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday. At Stamford Bridge, Juve were excellent and gave Chelsea the run-around at times. They will be ready to exploit any weaknesses in the visiting defence, while in attack they know they have to keep Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar quiet, as with Fernando Torres in the team Chelsea are basically playing without a striker.

I can't see Chelsea winning in Turin against Juventus and a defeat would leave their position in the group in real jeopardy. The home game ended in a 2-2 draw and was nice and open but Juventus are not going to allow a repeat of that.

There won't be a lot of room for Chelsea's three playmakers to operate this time.

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