clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Dugout Blues: Roberto Di Matteo hired by Villa, Dan Petrescu fired in China

New, comments

A Chelsea legend is back in the game, but one of his teammates was shown the door. All in all, it's been a exciting two weeks for former Blues players turned managers.


On June 3rd, it was finally announced that Roberto Di Matteo had joined recently-relegated Aston Villa as their new manager.

The news comes after weeks of speculation regarding the former Chelsea midfielder and where he would end up. Aston Villa had been favourites to land the Swiss-Italian, but his former club Lazio had also expressed serious interest.

Di Matteo is quoted by Villa's official site as saying it was a "wonderful honour" to became manager of a "great football club" and that he was looking forward to the challenge of getting Aston Villa back to the Premier League. Di Matteo is joined at Villa by iconic Chelsea defender Steve Clarke, who will serve as assistant manager.

Di Matteo featured in 175 games for Chelsea between 1996 and 2002. He scored a total of 26 goals, including 15 in the league and one in the FA Cup final I'll never forget. As a player with Chelsea, Di Matteo lifted the FA cup twice (in 1997 and 2000) and won the League Cup, the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and UEFA Super Cup as well.

RDM's first managerial job was at MK Dons in 2008. From there he moved to West Bromwich Albion. After taking the Baggies to the Premier League, Di Matteo was fired in 2011. Later that year, he became assistant to Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea. When AVB was fired in early 2012, Di Matteo took the reigns and lead Chelsea to an historic Cup double including the ultimate prize, the Champions League trophy. After his sacking, RDM was was hired by FC Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga, but he resigned from the club after just one season. He had spent the last season away from management.


Just as we gained a new manager to track, we lost another one. Dan Petrescu was sacked by Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning according to multiple reports in China (per gbtimes). Petrescu took charge of Jiangsu for just 36 matches, winning 15, drawing 12, and losing 9. Petrescu's last game at Jiangsu was an uninspired 1-1 draw at home to Hangzhou Greentown on May 28th. The loss saw Jiangsu slip back to third in the league. Though their league form had been impressive up to now, Jiangsu crashing out of the Asia Champions League group stage was embarrassing given the amount of investment new owners Suning (who are moving to acquire Inter Milan, too) had piled into the club. Jiangsu was the 12th club Petrescu had managed, it's likely to not be the last.

In England, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is continuing his attempt to transform QPR. The former Chelsea striker has demonstrated a willingness to part with the club's highest earners and it would appear former Spurs (boo) midfielder Sandro is the next to go. Sky Sports claimed that the Brazilian is close to a move to Sporting Lisbon.

Slavisa Jokanovic likely wants to add to his Fulham squad, but this week he has had to focus on keeping hold of what he has. The Northern Echo has reported that new Championship side Newcastle United are desperate to sign the Cottagers' (and the division's) most potent striker, Ross McCormack. The Scot bagged 23 goals last season and has netted 116 goals in 303 Championship appearances since 2008.

At Real Betis Gus Poyet looks set to shake things up. According to the Sunderland Echo Poyet is attempting to raid his former club for defender Santiago Vergini. A new defender won't do much to make up for the potential of Rafael van der Vaart. ESPN is reporting that former Dutch international sees his future elsewhere, with a return to Ajax on the cards. More importantly for Poyet (and Chelsea), one player looking to stay put and play is Chelsea youngster Charly Musonda who looks set to renew his loan at the Spanish club for next season.

With Europe's finest gearing up for EURO 2016, Didier Deschamps' France side sealed two victories in warm-up games over the past two weeks. On May 30th Les Bleus beat Cameroon in a thrilling 3-2 contest and on June 4th they comfortably beat Scotland 3-0. Ukraine, with Andriy Shevchenko on the bench, was also perfect this fortnight - beating Romania 4-3 on May 29th and Albania 3-1 on June 6th.


Calcio Mercato reported this weekend that former Chelsea striker Hernan Crespo had met with Swiss side FC Lugano about their vacant managerial post. Crespo had managed Modena in Serie B until he was sacked in March. Crespo has also been linked with a role at Argentine giants River Plate.


Though their weeks were vastly different, let's take a moment to watch Roberto Di Matteo and Dan Petrescu teaming up (along with Al Arabi manager Gianfranco Zola) to heap misery on Spurs in 1997.