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Di Matteo laughs off Pep job threat
Roberto Di Matteo has laughed off suggestions Pep Guardiola's decision to quit Barcelona has piled the pressure on his own bid to secure the Chelsea job.
Less than three days after being outwitted by caretaker Blues boss Di Matteo in the Champions League semi-finals, Guardiola confirmed he was stepping down as Barca manager at the end of the season. And although he announced he planned to take a sabbatical, speculation is rife Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will try to make him an offer he cannot refuse.
Asked if that put him under more pressure, Di Matteo laughed and said: "No, it does not."
Abramovich is said to have long craved the concept of 'Barcelona in blue shirts', identifying Guardiola as the perfect manager to deliver that vision.
But Di Matteo cast doubt on whether Barca's philosophy could be transferred to another club, saying: "History tells us it's difficult to replicate the culture of a club into a different club. He might be the first one to do it. But if you look back at history, it seems as if it's been different."
You do not need to look back too far, with Di Matteo part of the Andre Villas-Boas regime that tried and failed to do just that before the latter was sacked almost two months ago.
Di Matteo's decision to go back to basics since taking charge has paid off spectacularly, culminating in Tuesday night's sensational comeback to beat Barca and reach the Champions League final.
Since then, the clamour for the 41-year-old to be handed the reins full-time has reached fever pitch.
His hopes would appear to rest on whether the reclusive Abramovich believes the Italian is also capable of producing the brand of football for which Guardiola is famed, or whether Tuesday's result has convinced him that the Barca model is not all it is cracked up to be.
Di Matteo was none the wiser on Friday about his long-term future and said: "Nothing has changed from my point of view. I'm still very happy to be able to get this club to the end of the season and then this club will make a decision as to what is best for the club."