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Di Matteo wants Chelsea to mount sustained title challenge by making up 25 points on Manchester City

Di Matteo wants Chelsea to mount sustained title challenge by making up 25 points on Manchester City

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The Italian believes a combination of new signings and the solid core already at the club will make the difference as the Blues look to lift the prize they last claimed in 2010

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has urged his side to make up the 25-point difference between themselves and last season's champions Manchester City this year.

Di Matteo has added Eden Hazard and Marko Marin to the ranks as he sets up a new-look side, and is still chasing deals for Brazil ace Oscar, Marseille's Cesar Azpilicueta and Porto striker Hulk.

With Roman Abramovich's costly outlay, there will be immediate pressure on Di Matteo to reproduce the kind of managerial magic which saw him lead the west London outfit to FA Cup and Champions League success last season.

Abramovich's well-documented search for another manager in the wake of Chelsea's win in Munich could have deterred some managers, but Di Matteo appears to be ready for the challenge that awaits after signing a two-year deal last month.

And that challenge will be to knock City off their perch, after their amazing last-minute success in the previous campaign.

The Italian told The Sun: “City have done what we did in 2004 — exploded on to the scene, signed a lot of players and tried to build a foundation.

“The challenge for us is to make up 25 points on them and that is going to be very difficult. We have to be much more consistent.

“My job now is to motivate the players and find the right team to challenge in every league game."

With Marin and Hazard, not to mention others potentially coming in, to be fitted into his 4-2-3-1 system at the club, the 42-year-old believes getting the right balance to his side will ultimately shape their season.

He said: “The fact that we’re going to have some hungry, new young players will help.

“We are bringing in younger, established players like Eden Hazard and Marko Marin to become the foundation of the club over the years.

“But the spine of this team remains absolutely crucial. Petr Cech, John Terry, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic, Frank Lampard — they will be vital in the integration of the new players coming in.

“It’s all about getting the right balance between being physically strong and technically able.”

Di Matteo became the first Chelsea manager to secure the Champions League crown Abramovich so dearly coveted, and the Italian feels it was just reward for the effort put in by the team.

He added: “At the end of last season, I was just exhausted. Those three months were the craziest and most amazing weeks of my life.

“The intensity, the emotional rollercoaster, the pressure involved in chasing so many targets.

“We were fighting for fourth place, the FA Cup and the Champions League. We had to switch from one competition to the other every few days and always find the right team selection.

“So to lift that European Cup against Bayern in Munich gave me great pride and great satisfaction. That was the reward for all our hard work together.”

Some famous faces down the years have tried, and ultimately failed, to bring home the trophy but Di Matteo believes it is the players who deserve the praise.

He continued: "I don’t think there is an explanation for what happened.

“Ultimately, the players brought the trophy home and I was fortunate to be a part of it.

“We made history with a group of players that have been extraordinary for this club over the last decade. That achievement will always stand no matter what might happen in the future.”

 

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