Chelsea: Di Matteo deserves another year, says Avram Grant

Caretaker manager Roberto di Matteo deserves to stay in charge of Champions League finalists Chelsea for at least another year, says ex-boss Avram Grant.

The 10-man Blues beat Barcelona in an epic semi-final with a 2-2 draw in the Nou Camp to seal a 3-2 aggregate win.

Grant, who was sacked despite leading Chelsea to the 2008 final, said owner Roman Abramovich was hard to predict.

"I think Roberto deserves one more year at least but Abramovich sometimes thinks differently," he told the BBC.

Former Chelsea midfielder Di Matteo was appointed interim manager until the end of the season after Abramovich fired Andre Villas-Boas at the start of March.

Grant said Abramovich will have been impressed that the Italian has turned around Chelsea's fortunes, guiding them to the Champions League and FA Cup finals.

"He has sacked many managers but until now the football was on the way down and the team was on the way down," the current Partizan Belgrade manager told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I think in his eyes the team is on the way up and Di Matteo has a chance to continue."

Di Matteo hailed his side's "incredible achievement" after playing their semi-final second leg at the defending champions for just under an hour with 10 men following John Terry's dismissal.

Midfielder Frank Lampard praised the impact of the former MK Dons and West Brom boss, who has lost just once in 15 games since taking charge.

"I can't speak highly enough of him. Look at the record - it's not coincidence," said Lampard.

"He's created an atmosphere, a spirit and determination. What he's done in bringing it together and getting a result like this, and the results we've had before, is amazing.

Di Matteo's assistant Eddie Newton said the result was tribute to the hard work put in at the club.

"Robbie's done really well. He's come in, he's steadied the ship, and the focus is now looking forward," he said.

"A lot of praise must go to Robbie. The tactics were right and we carried it through - fantastic."

Di Matteo's record so far, with a 66% win rate, mirrors that of Grant, who left after eight months as manager following Chelsea's 2008 Champions League final defeat on penalties to Manchester United.

"In my time we got to the final and played unbelievable football and he [Abramovich] decided I would not continue. Sometimes you never know," said Grant.

The Israeli, a friend of Abramovich, initially joined Chelsea as director of football but was appointed manager in September 2007 after Jose Mourinho's dismissal.

Grant was replaced by Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari, who lasted for seven months before Carlo Ancelotti was drafted in.

The Italian secured the Premier League-FA Cup double in 2010 but was sacked a year later after a trophy-less season, and the same fate befell Villas-Boas after less than nine months in charge.

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