Di Matteo gets on with the job

  • Last Updated: August 18 2012, 13:14 BST

Roberto Di Matteo has vowed not to let his critics get to him as he attempts to prove Roman Abramovich was right to appoint him full-time Chelsea manager.

Roberto Di Matteo: Vowing to do his best

Despite masterminding the greatest triumph in the Blues' history last season by becoming the first man to lead them to Champions League glory, Di Matteo is among the favourites to be the first Barclays Premier League manager sacked ahead of the start of the season.

Some doubt whether he was billionaire Chelsea owner Abramovich's first choice to be handed the reins following his incredible two-and-a-half-month spell as caretaker boss.

Pep Guardiola was heavily linked with the job after quitting Barcelona and his lingering availability during a season-long sabbatical arguably has left Di Matteo under unprecedented pressure.

The Italian saw first hand how poorly former boss Andre Villas-Boas coped with the weight of expectation at Stamford Bridge last term, with the 34-year-old seemingly unable to take any criticism that was levelled at him.

Di Matteo can expect the same flak, and speculation over his future, should things start to go wrong but he was not worried about the naysayers now and also appeared unlikely to lose any sleep going forward.

He said ahead of Sunday's Premier League opener at Wigan: "People write and talk and I respect what people want to say and sometimes it makes me smile.

"I get on with my job. That's the only thing I can influence, try to do my best and prepare my team as well as I can."

Di Matteo claimed he did not feel under any more pressure than he had after being thrown in at the deep end in March.

"The pressure is always there, whether you are appointed permanently or not," he said. "When you have to lead a club like this, you know it's a pressurised job."

The former Chelsea midfielder added: "I felt responsible last season, there was a lot at stake, and the same this year.

"This club means a lot to me and I will try and do everything I can to be successful here."

The 42-year-old acknowledged winning the Champions League had marginally raised expectation levels of his side this season.

"It might have added a little bit of pressure to it," he said.

"But it was always so high anyway.

"It's an ambitious club and we know that we have to try to win trophies and be successful."

And despite exuding a Zen-like calm, Di Matteo insisted that same desire was "burning" deep within him.

"Inside, I'm burning, I'm firing," he said.

"I just try to think about the game, try to be calm and in my head, try to think what the game is like.

"But, inside, it's different."

Passion alone is not enough, as Villas-Boas discovered to his cost.

Despite being under pressure to deliver a more attractive brand of football, Di Matteo has already vowed not to make the same sweeping changes as his predecessor that saw Chelsea drop out of the title race before it even began.

He said: "You try to have the best start possible and then that gives you the right lead into the season.

"It is always vital to have a good start."

Having suffered four straight defeats in the build-up to tomorrow's game, that will be far from easy against a Wigan side whose sensational form at the end of last season spared them from the drop.

Di Matteo said: "Last season, at the end, they were very strong. The last 12 games, they were very, very, very good.

"We played them at home and it was a difficult game for us.

"So we have to expect a very difficult game on Sunday.

"They're playing at home as well, so it won't be easy, for sure."

Di Matteo planned to make a final decision on Saturday on whether new arrival Oscar would be involved at the DW Stadium.

He said of the Brazil star: "In his career so far, he has played on the left side - he has played there with the national team.

"He has played behind the strikers. He is quite versatile."