Di Matteo takes blame for teetering Blues
Roberto Di Matteo admitted he was to blame after Chelsea crashed to defeat at Juventus to leave themselves on the brink of becoming the first UEFA Champions League holders not to qualify for the knockout stage.
Blues boss Di Matteo refused to deflect responsibility for this evening's 3-0 loss in Turin - the club's heaviest ever in a group match - as the biggest selection gamble of his reign backfired spectacularly.
The result piled the pressure on the Italian, who acknowledged he was feeling the heat just six months after masterminding the most glorious moment in the club's history.
Chelsea now need to win their final Group E game against FC Nordsjaelland and hope Shakhtar Donetsk beat Juve, despite having already qualified for the knockout stage.
If not, there is no telling how trigger-happy owner Roman Abramovich will react, especially with Pep Guardiola still waiting in the wings.
Di Matteo risked the Russian's wrath by dropping Fernando Torres and radically overhauling his tactics this evening and he took full responsibility afterwards.
He said: "I'm responsible for the result. I'm responsible for the performance. It's a negative evening for us.
"If anyone has to take the blame, it's me. I selected a team I was convinced was the right team to win against Juventus, or get at least a draw, so the blame belongs to me."
"I didn't want to give the centre-backs any point of reference," he said. "I'd rather have Hazard, Oscar and Mata interchanging positions and trying to find the space.
"Hazard probably had the first good chance for us, Oscar the second and Mata also found himself in front of the keeper. In terms of that transition, we were very dangerous and created some good opportunities."
He added of fielding two right-backs: "I wanted to reinforce the midfield a bit, try to control the left side.
"The first goal was lucky for Juventus, a big deflection. The first goal is, a lot of times, decisive."
Di Matteo was under no illusions about the significance of the result, which came on the back of a four-match winless run in the Premier League.
"Big disappointment. Obviously, it was a difficult evening for us, for the team, for the club," he said. "So, you know, there was a lot of reflection."
And he was left clutching at straws when assessing Chelsea's prospects of qualifying.
He said: "Well, mathematically, it's still possible. While there's hope you still try. Who says that Juventus aren't going to lose at Shakhtar?
"We just have to make we do our job at our end, win the last group game. With 10 points, normally... usually, it's enough. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes it is."
Juve's win saw them leapfrog Chelsea into second place and assistant manager Angelo Alessio said: "We wanted to win and we managed to do so by playing a great game, at a high tempo, with continual pressing.
"We've got to keep going, we know nothing's changed and we still need to secure qualification in Donetsk."
Alessio rubbished suggestions Juve would not play a competitive match at Shakhtar in a game neither side need to win.
"We don't expect any particular type of match," he said. "We're not used to going out trying to gain a draw. We will go there wanting to win."