Di Matteo: I will get on with my job
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.
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.
"People write and talk and I respect what people want to say and sometimes it makes me smile," he said ahead of Sunday's Premier League opener at Wigan. "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."
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.
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: "This club means a lot to me and I will try and do everything I can to be successful here."