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Wednesday 21 November 2012

Chelsea part company with Di Matteo

Manager leaves club after Tuesday night's Champions League defeat by Juventus

Chelsea's disappointing run of form continued with defeat in Italy on Tuesday

Chelsea have parted company with manager Roberto Di Matteo after the club's UEFA Champions League defeat by Juventus last night.

Di Matteo was named caretaker manager in the wake of the exit of Andre Villas-Boas last season and, after leading Chelsea to Champions League and FA Cup glory in May, the 42-year-old Italian signed a two-year contract in June.

Chelsea started the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League campaign well, winning seven of their opening eight matches but the club's form has dipped over recent weeks.

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

They have won one of their last eight matches in all competitions while on Saturday, they suffered a 2-1 League defeat at high-flying West Bromwich Albion.

And Tuesday night's 3-0 defeat by Juventus leaves the club's qualification for the Champions League knockout stages hanging by a thread.

A statement on Chelsea's official website read: "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 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."

Di Matteo had made changes to his starting line-up for the Juventus contest, with striker Fernando Torres named on the bench, Eden Hazard pushed into a more advanced role and Cesar Azpilicueta on the right of midfield.

Petr Cech had already deflected Stephan Lichtsteiner's shot onto a post before Fabio Quagliarella put the Italian side ahead when he diverted Andrea Pirlo's strike into the net. Arturo Vidal made it 2-0 on 61 minutes when his strike was deflected in by Ramires while Sebastian Giovinco guided the ball past the onrushing Cech to complete the victory in injury time.

"There is big disappointment, it is a difficult evening for us, the team and the club, and there was a lot of reflection," said Di Matteo after the match. "I am responsible for the result and the performance and it is a negative evening for us. I selected a team that I was convinced was the right team to win or at least take a draw so the blame belongs to me."

Chelsea need to win their final Group E game against Nordsjaelland and hope Shakhtar Donetsk beat Juventus in order to qualify from the group.

The Blues face defending Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Group E results

Juventus 3-0 Chelsea
Nordsjælland 2-5 Shakhtar Donetsk

Burak Yilmaz scores the winner as Galatasaray defeat Manchester United

Galatasaray 1-0 Manchester United

Manchester United's 100% record in this year's UEFA Champions League came to an end as they suffered defeat at the hands of Galatasaray.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side had qualified for the last 16 before the tie but victory for Galatasaray gives the Turkish side real hope of making it through to the knockout stages.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson had picked a youthful line-up including Alexander Buttner, Nick Powell and fit-again Phil Jones.

The hosts had the better chances and they got the decisive goal on 54 minutes courtesy of a header from Burak Yilmaz, while United's best chance fell to Powell, whose header hit the bar.

"They handled the atmosphere and the temperament was good," Ferguson told the club's official website. "Parts of the game were good but the area in which we were worried about - set-pieces - we suffered.

"Other than that, I was satisfied and it was a decent performance. We had some good attacking play in the first half and at that point the only trouble they gave us was from outside the box. It was a very competitive, good game."

Group H results

Galatasaray 1-0 Manchester United
CFR Cluj 3-1 Braga

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Key Points

  • Chelsea part company with manager Roberto Di Matteo
  • Decision follows UEFA Champions League defeat by Juventus
  • Manchester United suffer 1-0 loss to Galatasaray