Chelsea sack Di Matteo
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Roberto Di Matteo has been sacked as manager of Chelsea following a poor string of results for the European Champions.

The Stamford Bridge club have won just one of their last four games in all competitions, and lost four of their last eight, leaving their defence of the UEFA Champions League title they won last year out of their hands after last night's 3-0 defeat at Juventus.

The club issued the following statement to announce the news: "Chelsea Football Club has parted company this morning with manager Roberto Di Matteo.

"The team's recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.

"The club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as well as maintaining a strong challenge for the top of the Premier League while competing in three other cup competitions. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all fronts."

The team's recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary.
Chelsea FC statement on Roberto Di Matteo's dismissal

"The owner and the Board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March. Roberto helped guide us to an historic Champions League victory and a seventh FA Cup. We will never forget the huge contribution he has made to this club's history and he will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.

"The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager."

Immediate attention will turn to whether the club can lure former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola out of a year-long sabbatical from football. Guardiola was a reported target for the Blues in the summer despite Di Matteo's Champions League and FA Cup success.

He had vowed to take a year's break from the game, but he is likely to be the favourite to succeed Di Matteo on a permanent basis.

Di Matteo took charge of Chelsea in March after the club had sacked Andre Villas-Boas, initially on a temporary basis. He rescued the club's ailing Champions League campaign and steered them against all odds to victory over Bayern Munich in the final on the German team's home ground, having already secured the FA Cup.

He was given a two-year contract in June, but not before there had been major speculation over whether Guardiola would take over.

The season started well domestically but they have fallen slightly off the pace in recent weeks. Di Matteo has become the first top-flight manager to leave his post this season.