Give Rob the top job
Frank Lampard has led the calls for Roberto Di Matteo to get the Chelsea job full-time.
The England midfielder reckons stand-in boss Di Matteo deserves the role after pulling off a spectacular rescue at Stamford Bridge.
Just eight weeks ago the Italian took over from Andre Villas-Boas with the Blues on the brink of implosion and destined for their worst season of the Roman Abramovic era.
But Di Matteo has unified the team and guided them to the finals of the Champions League and FA Cup and back into contention for a top-four league spot.
And Lampard, 33, declared: “I can’t speak highly enough of what he’s done. He’s been incredible. And if we win the Champions League, then Robbie deserves it for what he’s done to the club.
“Nothing is impossible. It was meant to be impossible for Chelsea to beat Barcelona but we’ve done it.
“And what we’ve done since Robbie was put in charge of the team is no coincidence.
“He has created a great atmosphere, he’s got all the players performing, the camp is very happy and the results we’ve had over the past 15 games don’t lie.
“The club will sit down with him in the summer and I am sure they will make the right decision.”
Yet as Avram Grant discovered to his cost, even reaching the Champions League final is no guarantee of long-term employment at Chelsea.
The Israeli was ruthlessly sacked three days after Chelsea’s penalty shootout defeat by Manchester United in the 2008 final in Moscow.
Defender Branislav Ivanovic knows that nothing can be taken for granted at Stamford Bridge.
The Serb said: “The manager has done a great job. He has changed everything.
“He changed our minds and he gave us support and trust so he deserves a great performance like the one we gave in the Nou Camp.Everybody is happy with Robbie Di Matteo and we all feel together.
“We have a great relationship with him and the results are good for us. But we don’t want to look too far ahead. Nobody thinks about next year. We still have so much to do this season.
“We are not finished yet. We’re not safe in the league for a place in the Champions League and we still have two finals to play.
“There is a lot of work ahead but we have a big squad and we will try to do everything.”
Di Matteo has been in charge for 15 games since AVB was axed and lost just once. Now Chelsea have six more games this season — against QPR, Newcastle, Liverpool and Blackburn in the Premier League, Liverpool in the FA Cup final and Bayern Munich in the Champions League final.
It is a daunting schedule to test the physical and mental capacity of their players but Lamps is relishing the opportunity to prove that this squad is far from finished. He said: “People watched us a few weeks ago against Wigan and Fulham and thought we were on our last legs.
“But you can never knock this team down. We have the determination to keep coming back and what we achieved against Barcelona this season was one of the greatest performances by an English club in Europe.
“We have something to prove in every game and that is what makes top players.
“Didier Drogba was being written off and then he comes back and scores the goals to get us to where we are now and I feel the same. I don’t believe I am on my last legs and I’ll kep trying to show that in every game.
“What we did against Barcelona wasn’t beautiful but the result at the final whistle was beautiful.
“We can enjoy this win for now but we have to stay focused in the Premier League and the FA Cup.
“We are on a decent run of performances and the last thing we want to do now is lower our standards in the weeks leading up to Munich.
“At 2-0 down on Tuesday and with only 10 men on the park, we had to regroup because there was a danger that a team as good as Barcelona could go on to smash us 6-0. But sometimes adversity and tough moments bring you together and we have so many big personalities in our team.
“There was no advice from Jose Mourinho ahead of the game. The only tip he gave us was the way his Real Madrid performed at the Nou Camp at the weekend.
“But we already knew all about Barcelona from the first leg. You know you’re going to be doing a lot of chasing and covering spaces but the longer the clock ticked down, the more belief we had.
“There was a mountain in front of us in Barcelona. They outplay teams and beat them every week. To knock them out with 10 men is something special.
“At 2-0 down, no one saw that result coming.
“Even in our wildest dreams we wouldn’t have expected that result. But we have to keep a sense of perspective because there is still a huge game to be won and I don’t care too much for losing finals.”