Champions League: Chelsea sack Roberto Di Matteo after Juventus defeat

Manager Roberto Di Matteo has been sacked by Chelsea after eight months in charge. The Italian manager won the Champions League and FA Cup as caretaker manager last season and was given a two-year deal in June. But after Tuesday's 3-0 defeat to Juventus, which has left the Blues on the brink of an early Champions League exit, he has left Stamford Bridge.

"The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first-team manager," a statement said. Owner Roman Abramovich is known to be a long-term admirer of former Barcelona supremo Pep Guardiola. However, nobody knows whether Guardiola is willing to end his sabbatical from football and reports claim Abramovich has contacted former Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez to see if he might be interested in taking charge on a short-term basis. The Blues had a good start to the season but their form of late was terrible as they claimed just two wins in the last eight games.

The official club statement said: "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."

Roberto Di Matteo took full responsibility for the defeat in Italy, which means Chelsea will be knocked out if Juve draw away to Shakhtar Donetsk on 5 December. "If anyone has to take blame, it's me. I selected a team I was convinced would win or at least draw," the manager said.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, who has an eight-year contract, declares himself surprised by Di Matteo's departure. "I'm astonished really," he said. "It just goes to show you how precarious we are as Premier League managers and we can't take anything for granted. As far as I'm concerned he's done nothing absolutely wrong. The philosophy was to perhaps change the look of the team which he's tried to do and that doesn't happen overnight. He's won two competitions in less than a year so it's unbelievable."

You can already bet on who will be the next permanent manager at Stamford Bridge, here are the favourites at Bet365:

Rafael Benitez - 4/5
Harry Redknapp - 11/4
Pep Guardiola - 3/1

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