World of Sport

Quotes of the week: “A sacking, just like any other day at Chelsea”

World of Sport

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Roberto di Matteo and Andres Villas-Boas (Reuters)

Roberto Di Matteo's dismissal from the Chelsea managerial post, six months after giving owner Roman Abramovich the Champions League win he so badly craved, sent the talking heads into overdrive this week.

Most of the footballing community were aghast. Appalled. Stunned.

Chelsea forward Juan Mata said: "It's been a difficult day. As a player, he has been a legend for the 'Blues'. With him as a manager, we won our first Champions League.He will always be remembered. Good luck Robbie!"

Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand tweeted: "Wow, Chelsea have sacked their manager!! I'm a bit late I know but its a madness."

Chelsea-supporting cricketer Alec Stewart concurred: "Joke decision to sack DiMatteo. Wins Champs Lge & FA Cup. Currently 3rd in league. Need stability for sustained success. #nothappy"

Even Louis Saha, who nicked the poor guy's famous FA Cup final fastest-goal record — against Chelsea in 2009 — was sympathetic: "Can't believe Roberto di Matteo has been sack after such a good record.Especially when I think he had 2cope with Terry scandals. #harsh"

Of the minority, Andres Villa-Boas' unflinching summary stood head and shoulders above the chitter-chatter.

The Tottenham boss was the last manager to be fired by the Russian billionaire after less than a year in charge at Stamford Bridge, and thus to him, the latest turnover was no surprise at all:

"At Chelsea, I think another sacking is just like any other day at the office. That's my interpretation."

Also onside with the Portuguese boss was one Joey Barton, who as usual, had an opinion on the matter of the week:

"Is everyone really that surprised by Chelsea-ovich getting rid of their latest play thing? It's football after all. If it's not broken, fix it."

Former Chelsea players Paul Elliott and Tony Cascarino, meanwhile, are under no danger of losing any hospitality or after-dinner privileges with the club following their less-supportive appraisals of RDM as the Blues lost 3-0 in Juventus.

Cascarino said: "Chelsea lost 3-0 but it could have easily been five or six. That is a big problem for a manager. It was inevitable this would happen if you're going to lose games in that manner."

Elliott agreed: "Results and performances haven't been to the level of a club of this magnitude. Abramovich has always been good for Chelsea and will continue to be. I think the performance against Juve and the outcome was really the final straw."

But the Italian kept things classy with his first after-the-fact statement, released via the League Managers Association.

"I am extremely proud of the successes and trophies that we were able to bring to the club in recent months.

"Lifting Chelsea's first Champions League trophy, in Munich, was the best achievement in club history and without doubt the highlight of my career to date, both as a player and manager.

"It is a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life.

"I have a deep and unreserved passion for Chelsea Football Club and I would like to sincerely thank all of the staff, my players and of course the Chelsea fans, for their tremendous and unconditioned support in the intense time I have been the manager at the Bridge.

"I wish all of them every success for the rest of the season and beyond."

"Without morals"

Di Matteo's fate-sealing defeat wasn't the only newsworthy fixture in this week's Champions League match day five — in the very same group as Chelsea and Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk booked a last-16 spot with a controversial win at Nordjaelland.

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Confusion surrounds Luiz Adriano's leveller (Imago)

Luis Adriano snatched an equaliser for the visitors when the ball was originally being given sportingly back to the Danes in the sort of ruthlessly self-serving act that may see head coach Mircea Lucescu added to the Chelsea managerial shortlist in the summer.

"I don't know if Shakhtar are bandits, but some of their players, bosses and coaches are without morals," Nordsjaelland coach Kasper Hjulmand fumed after the match.

"First and foremost it's the player's choice. As coaches, we are forever on about respect for the game, the opponent and the rules. In my world it is unsportsmanlike conduct and a red card for Luiz Adriano would have been quite appropriate.

"(Darijo) Srna looked like he wanted to let him score and others agreed. Some players looked out towards the bench but no one knew what would happen."

Hjulmand said he tried to speak to Lucescu during half-time about the situation, to no avail.

"I am shocked that a man of that stature just stood and stared," Laursen said.

"He obviously thought they should be leading by 6-0 at half-time. I think it's a great loss to football that something like this should happen."

Bigger is better?

"I have a 29 inch waist wasn't that long ago my right arse cheek was 29 inches.and I'm not joking." — Ahead of his return to the ring on Saturday, Ricky Hatton admits to his Twitter congregation that he packed on a little extra during his three-and-a-half years away.

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Hatton has shed a lot of weight for his comeback (AFP)

"I do not think it is a good idea to come back once a fighter has retired. It's not something I plan on doing. I know how hard it is to get back into good boxing shape after being out of the training camp for only three or four months. I cannot imagine what it is like after a number of years." — But Manny Pacquiao — the man who retired Hatton in 2009, doesn't think 'The Hitman' should be trying to come back.

"I was shaking and baking him and flipped him up. I'll fight anybody. I'm going to be running this city and sport for a long time to come. What can I say after a performance like that? I am elite. Like I said coming into this fight, I'm an elite fighter that can make a great fighter look like an amateur and I think that's what I did tonight. I smiled, danced and cried my way out [of the ring]. I don't like losing. I don't even like to lose weight." — Adrien Broner once again takes the modest approach after claiming Antonio DeMarco's WBC lightweight title.

"Even though I will be with Mercedes, I probably will keep coming back to have lunch and dinner back at the hospitality because the food's great there. I hope the Mercedes' hospitality lives up to the one we have." — Outgoing McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton appears to despise dieting as much as Hatton and Broner.

"I prefer to be totally transparent, because with something like that you can easily simulate something if you want. But I felt it was more correct to say the truth. This is our style, my style. It is something that is our responsibility to do and retrospectively we knew that the difference in grip level on the two sides was very high. And we knew that if we were thinking of trying to be in the fight in Brazil it was very important to have the first car in front in the first couple of laps, otherwise the race would have been almost finished." — Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali defends the decision to sabotage Felipe Massa's car for a penalty which moved title-chasing team-mate Fernando Alonso forward on the grid in Austin.

Davis Cup reaction: Czech-mate for Spain (report)

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Spain look on as the Czech Republic rejoice in Prague (Reuters)

"I was dreaming about it my whole life and now we're standing here as Davis Cup champions, it's amazing. I can't describe what I'm feeling right now. I came on the court with the mindset that I had to stay calm, hungry, motivated and concentrate... I was playing very aggressively today. I wanted to be the one who was active, who was controlling the game and it paid off." — Radek Stepanek sums up revenge against a drubbing from Spain in 2009 as the Czech Republic added the Davis Cup to their Fed Cup success.

"I don't think I made a mistake and I don't think we lost the tie because Nico Almagro played. Having seen the way Nico Almagro played on Friday I still believe that he was the right person to play the final rubber. Who knows if a different player would have been any better? Nobody. I am a fan of Feliciano Lopez in the sense that he has given a huge amount to the Davis Cup team. He's an excellent team-mate and an excellent friend and an excellent Davis Cup player and an excellent player on those courts but I have a huge number of reasons why I think Almagro had to play." — Spanish captain Alex Corretja defends his selection policy after his men missed out in Prague.

"Business class is too expensive for my ranking." — Laura Robson keeps her feet on the ground despite a banner year in 2012.

"They say that if you get through a difficult spell you get stronger. We'll have to see. In my opinion, it hasn't taught me anything." - Valentino Rossi heaps the final layer of soil onto the grave of his two-year tenure with Ducati in MotoGP.

"And before u listen to too many ex playing 'experts' being negative, ask them if they ever won a Test series in India....#28years." - Stuart Broad responds to criticism of England's comprehensive loss to India.

"Didn't average 40+ with the ball overseas...! Not sure what I scored against India with the bat..? #justsaying." - And Sir Ian Botham is quick to hit back.

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Stuart Broad (PA Photos)

When bloggers attack!

"The trouble, of course, is that England may well be merely shuffling the deckchairs on the Titanic if they make changes. You can put them in any order you like, but either way the boat is sinking."Cow Corner appears somewhat apocalyptic after England's first Test defeat.

"Carl Froch in his most insignificant fight in years against Mack commanded more interest than any other British boxer not brandishing a tripod."The Pugilist doesn't offer much domestic optimism, either.

"In one sense, it's quite impressive - in ED's mind, Owen remains a callow youngster incapable of growing proper facial hair. Mind you, last night's effort did look enough like stuck-on iron filings to keep the conspiracy theorists going." — and Early Doors can't help but marvel at Michael Owen's Movember efforts.

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