Robert Di Matteo of Chelsea FC Fired: Are Expectations in Europe out of Control?
May 19, 2012 will always be a, "Where were you?" day for Chelsea fans.
That was the day when Chelsea lifted their first ever Champions League trophy after a heroic win in Munich against Bayern.
It was a fairytale way to end a remarkable run. Chelsea had beaten Napoli, Benfica, and the mighty Barcelona on the road to Munich. Along the way they collected the FA Cup.
What made the run even more remarkable was that in March, Chelsea looked dead and buried. Manager Andre Villas-Boas was fired in March and the season looked over. In stepped assistant coach, Roberto Di Matteo, who lead Chelsea to one of the unlikeliest doubles in European history.
Di Matteo was retained for the following and deservedly so. Surely, the man who took Chelsea from death to their first ever European crown deserved to stay on as full-time manager.
When the season began Chelsea got off to a blistering start. Di Matteo cleverly used his new players to create one of the fiercest attacks in the Premier League.
Then, things started to slip a bit. Chelsea fell to third in the table and to the brink of elimination in the Champions League.
As soon as the slide began, Di Matteo was fired.
He was barely given more the three months as a full time manager. The firing of Di Matteo didn’t happen just because Roman Abramovich’s expectations are unreasonable, but because clubs all around Europe have ridiculous expectations.
As more and more money gets spent on astronomical salaries, expectations for what teams should accomplish will continue to spiral out of control. Club owners do not seem to realize that you can’t win every piece of silverware every year. That just can’t happen.
Owners need to accept this fact and not make drastic changes at the drop of the hat. Inconsistency doesn’t do any good for any club. Constantly changing prevents any team from laying down a good foundation.
Another example of how crazy expectations have become is in the case of Real Madrid. There are rumors that Mourinho may be on his way out, after their slow start this season.
Jose Mourinho lead Real Madrid to the La Liga title last season, which took a monumental effort dethrone Barcelona. Even though they haven’t done well in the league, they are through to the next round of the Champions League and are one of the main contenders.
Firing him would be a crazy move, but yet there are rumors that it could happen.
Sir Alex Ferguson is the best example of what patience can bring.
Ferguson didn’t win any trophies in his first four seasons at Manchester United. It didn’t look like United would be knocking Liverpool off their perch as the team to beat in England.
United kept him and look what happened: 12 Premier League Championships, 2 European Championships, 5 FA Cups, and 4 League Cups.
Obviously, being patient with your manager does not mean he will develop into the next Sir Alex Ferguson. However, his case proves that it can be beneficial to the owners to temper their expectations.
There are many great clubs in Europe these days and a limited amount of trophies to win. If Di Matteo gets fired after 3 months, how long will it take Benitez to get fired if he doesn’t win? Then, how long will the next guy get before he is replaced?
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