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Di Matteo denies holding talks to take Chelsea job full-time

Di Matteo denies holding talks to take Chelsea job full-time

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The Blues' interim boss, who has presided over a successful run at Stamford Bridge, believes that he and his players must focus on Champions League qualification and cup matches

Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo has denied holding talks to take the job full-time.

The Blues beat Barcelona 1-0 on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, their European success under the Italian coming alongside a run to the FA Cup final and an upturn in the Premier League.

However, although his future at Stamford Bridge remains uncertain, the Italian insisted that he is only dealing with the challenge at hand.

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“I don't think it's important right now to speak about anything like that,” Di Matteo told reporters on Friday.

“Our focus is on playing these games. We don't have time to think about anything else [and] I don't think there's a time limit to anything like that.

“At the moment, that's not the focus of anybody because it's not important. We've got more important aspects to think about.”

The Italian, whom 77.96 per cent of Goal.com readers agree should be given the job full-time, added: "I've always had a good relationship with our supporters."

“That goes back to the days when I was a player and it continued after I retired.

“It will continue whatever happens with myself. I will always be connected to this club and with the supporters, anywhere I'm going to be in the future.”

Although Chelsea’s end-of-season schedule is packed, with the FA Cup final and potentially two more Champions League games to fit in, Di Matteo is delighted with their current situation.

“Six weeks ago, if anybody would've told you that we were in this position now, we would've been very happy,” he insisted.

The Londoners’ 5-1 win over Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final was followed only three days later by their victory over Barca, and Di Matteo confessed that the Blues have been largely unable to dwell on their successes.

“The semi-final against Spurs was a great win but there was no time to enjoy it, and this one in midweek the same," he observed, "because, after the game, you start thinking about Arsenal already."

Despite their continental progress, Chelsea sit sixth in the Premier League and currently outside of Champions League qualification as they prepare to visit Arsenal on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, we have to play catch-up - that's been from day one," Di Matteo noted.

“So, every game that we've played in the league is crucial, and this is another one.”

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Upon hearing that the Gunners have not won a league match without the injured Mikel Arteta's involvement this season, Di Matteo laughed: “Good!

“But they have a good squad, they have a lot of good-quality players. We're going to be missing some players.”

Chelsea’s return leg at Camp Nou on Tuesday will be their third game in six days, but Di Matteo argued that winning alleviates fatigue.

“Psychologically, it feels much better digesting this amount of games when you're winning," said the 41-year-old.

“That doesn't take away the fact that we're going to play our third game in less than six days.

“I've been using the squad and I will continue to do so because I think that is the only answer, really, to be able to compete in every game.”

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