Chelsea attempt to portray united front ahead of the visit of Napoli
Roberto Di Matteo’s record as Chelsea’s interim manager reads played two, won two after a 1-0 victory over Stoke in his first Premier League test, and he is 8/11 to complete a hat-trick when Napoli visit on Wednesday.
The former Blues midfielder continued his successful but unspectacular start against the Potters courtesy of a second-half Didier Drogba strike, his 100th in the Premier League, however it wasn’t the most emphatic of triumphs.
The visitors were reduced to ten men after only 25 minutes when Ricardo Fuller stamped on Branislav Ivanovic but made life difficult for the hosts, who had won just three of their previous dozen top-flight encounters.
At a charity do that followed the match, both John Terry and Drogba attempted to deny that player power had seen off Andre Villas-Boas, albeit admitting that their poor displays were a huge contributing factor.
The Portuguese tactician has left former assistant Di Matteo with a 3-1 deficit to overturn in the Champions League against Napoli this week and the 2007-08 finalists are 9/4 to do what Arsenal came close to doing to Italian opposition.
Napoli prepared for the trip to Stamford Bridge with a sixth successive win, Cagliari performing the role of latest victims at the San Paolo.
Walter Mazzarri’s men rather ominously struck six times in the Friday night fixture despite starting with top scorer Edinson Cavani and attacking right wing back Christian Maggio on the bench.
There was one positive to be found for Chelsea onlookers though and that was that Napoli’s defence, which was at full strength, conceded three times, admittedly with the three points already virtually sealed.
Mazzarri wasn’t impressed, noting that: “The fact is we cannot afford similar defensive errors against Chelsea. I’m really working on the psychological aspect, which we saw with Milan was an issue against Arsenal.”