LONDON (AFP) – Chelsea captain John Terry has given interim manager Roberto Di Matteo his stamp of approval as the club prepares for Saturday’s FA Cup final challenge against Liverpool.
Di Matteo has overseen a dramatic transformation in Chelsea’s fortunes since taking over from sacked predecessor Andre Villas-Boas in March, guiding the club to the FA Cup and Champions League finals.
Although Chelsea’s league form has left the club struggling to secure an all-important top-four finish, Terry has praised the impact Di Matteo has had in such a relatively short space of time.
Di Matteo’s future at Stamford Bridge remains uncertain, with Chelsea’s hierarchy insisting no decision on a permanent successor to Villas-Boas will be taken until the close season.
However Terry had nothing but praise for his former team-mate in an interview broadcast by Chelsea TV.
“We’re very passionate about the club. He cares for the club immensely, which is great, and that’s certainly rubbed off on the players,” Terry said. “So, he’s been a revelation, really, since he took over.
“He shows that he cares and the passion shows in the team meetings and on the training field when things don’t go well. He always refers back to the way he cares about this football club, the relationship he has with the fans as well.
“He’s got a great rapport with the fans, a great understanding with the players. He’s communicating with everyone and things have gone very well for us. So, he deserves a huge amount of credit for that.”
Terry also praised Di Matteo’s careful rotation of the squad, which has seen Chelsea remain competitive on three fronts despite a punishing schedule.
“We’ve had so many games,” Terry said. “It’s been training and playing every two or three days. He (Di Matteo) just kept everyone fresh in the mind that they can get a chance and the opportunity.
“Then, once you do get that opportunity, if you do well, you will stay in the side and progress and keep your starting place, which everyone throughout the side has felt.”