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Chelsea boss Di Matteo hails Guardiola in wake of Barcelona resignation

Chelsea boss Di Matteo hails Guardiola in wake of Barcelona resignation

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The Italian, whose future at Stamford Bridge is still uncertain with a Champions League final next month, doubts the Spaniard will ever repeat his achievements at the Nou Camp

Chelsea interim manager Roberto Di Matteo has praised Pep Guardiola after the Spaniard announced on Friday that he will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

The Catalan club suffered two consecutive defeats - 1-0 at Chelsea and 2-1 at home to Real Madrid - before the Blues knocked them out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage on Tuesday.

The former Blaugrana midfielder will manage the Camp Nou side’s final few matches of the 2011-12 campaign before handing over the reins to his assistant, Tito Vilanova, and Di Matteo believes that the pressure of managing Barca may have influenced Guardiola's decision.

“He knows what he does,” the Italian coach told reporters. “He’s a fantastic person.

“He’s had such tremendous success and he has decided what is probably best for himself, his career and maybe his family.

“I would say the pressure [got to him]; you have that in every club because of different targets but you have the pressure in his position.

“What a coach, what a manager he is. If he’s decided to not want to continue at the end of the season, he’s a great guy and he’s a young man as well and he’s still got many years ahead of him.”

Guardiola’s 13 trophies in four years at Camp Nou is a phenomenal and unprecedented run of success, but the Italian doubts that the Spaniard will be able to replicate his achievements with Barcelona at another club.

Di Matteo said: “I think he’s a role model as a coach for every young manager.

“What he has achieved in such a short period of time I’m not sure anyone else can actually replicate that.

“History tells us that it’s difficult to replicate the culture of a club into a different club.

“So he might be the first to do it but if you look back at the history of football it’s proven very difficult to do it.”

Having stepped up from assistant manager when Andre Villas-Boas was fired at the start of March, Di Matteo has become a popular choice for the managerial job full-time.

The Italian remained focused on the task at hand when asked by reporters where he stands on the issue, saying: “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 on what is best for the club.

“Like six weeks ago, I’m very relaxed about that [his future]. It’s irrelevant at this point of the season.

“What is important is that the spirit of the players is good and we are feeling positive and we just have to try and keep this momentum going until the end of the season.

“It’s amazing that this group of players have responded so positively to the difficulties that we’ve been faced with this season.

“It’s proving a difficult season for us and we’re looking now at finishing fourth and we have to play two finals. So ultimately you have to try and finish the season successfully.”

Gary Cahill had to come off after 12 minutes at Camp Nou with a hamstring problem and Di Matteo confessed that the club are unsure when the centre-back will be fit again.

“At the moment we hope that he’s going to recover as quickly as possible,” he added.

“That’s our hope and that’s what our aim is with the medical department. When he’s going to be fit we cannot say at this moment in time.”

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