Hoddle: Top four is key for Di Matteo
Glenn Hoddle believes Roberto Di Matteo is in "pole position" to land the coveted job as the next Chelsea manager - providing he hits the minimum requirement of Champions League football, required by owner Roman Abramovich.
Indeed, the Russian billionaire would rather seal Champions League football next season than progress in their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley again Spurs on Sunday. But, regardless of what happens against Spurs, if the Blues put up an impressive fight against Barcelona in their Champions League semi and finish in the top four, Hoddle thinks Di Matteo will be given his chance on a permanent basis.
"When Robbie was appointed caretaker, I said then that he was in pole position, and I feel now that he is most definitely in pole position for the way he has turned around the team in such a short space of time," he told ESPNsoccernet.
"The whole atmosphere of the club has changed virtually overnight with Robbie at the helm: with that win over Napoli, a defeat by Manchester United, but bouncing back so brilliantly against Benfica.
"The feeling in the dressing room and around the club is lifting the players' spirits, which in turn has lifted the spirits of the supporters and everyone within the club.
"Robbie has not been scared to rotate his squad, and I am sure he will do that again even with a Cup semi final he desperately wants to win. You hear managers talk about taking the next game, but here he has to have one eye on the Barcelona tie because of the late kick-off on Sunday and the next match on a Tuesday.
"The criteria for Robbie landing the job, for me would be to ensure fourth place in the League. You cannot rely on beating Barcelona, and you cannot rely on winning the Cup. But if he did well against Barcelona, the team come out of it with their pride intact.
"The priority, though, for the Chelsea owner, and indeed his manager, is to be in that top four."
Glenn Hoddle is Technical Director of 20-20 football. 20-20 football are holding the Fallen Heroes Trophy (in aid of Help 4 Heroes) and the Elite Legends Cup; Chelsea (holders of London Legend Cup), Manchester United, Arsenal and hosts QPR at Loftus Road on Sunday May 20. Tickets on sale from QPR on line or call 08444 777 007.