Di Matteo inspired the Blues to the greatest triumph in their history last season when he scrapped former manager Andre Villas-Boas’ plans for change and was rewarded with a UEFA Champions League and FA Cup double.
Villas-Boas had been tasked by billionaire owner Roman Abramovich with transforming the way Chelsea played and the Russian was said to have long held a dream of seeing ‘Barcelona in blue shirts’.
The attempt backfired spectacularly and caretaker boss Di Matteo was allowed to go back to basics to save the club’s season.
“I know we need to win games as well. But I don’t think you can expect a completely different Chelsea overnight”
Roberto Di Matteo Quotes of the week
Since the Champions League success, the £66million splashed out on the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin suggests Abramovich remains determined to get Chelsea playing more attractively.
But Di Matteo, whose appointment on a full-time basis was only confirmed after persistent reports linking the Blues with outgoing Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola, has hinted he would not fall into the same trap as Villas-Boas and try to change too much, too soon.
“There won’t be radical changes,” he said ahead of Sunday’s Community Shield against defending Premier League champions Manchester City.
“Certainly, with the influence of the new players once they are integrated, they will be a bit different because they have different characteristics and abilities.
“I know we need to win games as well. But I don’t think you can expect a completely different Chelsea overnight.
“The majority of the team are still here and, with those players, the club have been very successful already.”
Di Matteo refused to be drawn on whether he had learnt from the mistakes of Villas-Boas, who he worked under as an assistant, as he said: “I don’t really want to go back over that too much.”
But he added, tellingly: “I repeat myself – I don’t think there’ll be radical changes overnight here.”
That would appear to include not trying to force Chelsea’s stars into a style of play that does not suit them.
“Everybody would like to play like Barcelona, but the reality is there isn’t another team in the world who play like them,” said Di Matteo.
“It’s a culture, a way of life, a style they’ve produced through the club for many, many years. The aim for a lot of teams and clubs is to get there.
“But, as far as I’m concerned, there isn’t one who plays like Barca. And there’s only one Lionel Messi around.”