Cech hails influence of Di Matteo

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has spoken of the influence interim manager Roberto Di Matteo has had at the club since replacing Andre Villas-Boas, branding the former Blues midfielder a legend, the Daily Telegraph has revealed.

Cech is quoted as saying: “You can see he’s Chelsea through and through, a Chelsea legend. It helped in terms of the general atmosphere…when you have a person who is a legend at the club leading the team, the fans give you more time and give you a chance.

Di Matteo joined Chelsea from Lazio in 1996, spending six years at Stamford Bridge, where he won a host of trophies, including FA Cups in 1997 and 2000 and in 1998 the League Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. Di Matteo also went down in folklore for his 42-second goal in the 1997 FA Cup final, a record that stood until 2009 when it was bettered by Louis Saha for Everton, ironically against Chelsea.

The former West Bromwich Albion manager however suffered a broken leg in three places during a UEFA Cup match in 2000, spending the rest of the season and much of the one that followed on the sidelines. Di Matteo eventually retired through injury in 2002, having made 174 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 26 goals.

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