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How Roberto di Matteo should respond to the taunts

Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo has been taunted that he is simply a lucky manager and so were Chelsea, how would you respond in his situation?

Luck is a factor in life and football that you cannot reason with; equally it can't be measured. 

So Di Matteo and Chelsea being accused of being lucky last season is purely opinion, rather than fact.

Football is so much more, but it boils down to numbers and statistics. Chelsea scored more goals than Barcelona over two legs of football, and scored more penalties than Bayern Munich in the final shootout.

Is that luck or simply good execution of a tactical plan?

Roberto di Matteo has attempted to bat off the doubters, trying belittle his historic achievement last season, with reason.

"'You need to deserve everything you get, and I think we worked very hard for it. We prepared ourselves very well against our opposition.

'It can't just be that (luck). You might need, and you will need, a portion of luck during a competition like this.

'But every team has it to be able to achieve the final target to win it. Luck is a minor part of it.'

In trying to reason against something that can't be rationally reasoned with, we wonder if Di Matteo has made the wrong approach, and should simply be a bit more abrasive back, even if it is not his style.

He should respond and say, "Yes I am lucky, but I would rather be lucky and win, than unlucky and lose."

Which is the most poignant issue in all of this. A look over to London neighbours Arsenal, will show you a team who have not won a trophy in seven years, while Liverpool have on just one Carling Cup in six years.

Luck or no luck, all that is remembered is the years of failure at both clubs. Were Liverpool lucky to beat Milan in 2005? Manchester United to win the treble in 1999? They had their fair share, but rather be a lucky winner than a gallant loser.

Even Chelsea know this; Remember John Terry's unfortunate slip in Moscow in 2008? Of course, now that was unlucky.

Look at all the great sides who have failed through the years. Look at Argentina's World Cup 2006 squad boasting Tevez, Riquelme and Messi, which looked immense in the group stages but lost on penalties to Germany in the quarter finals. Are they remembered as a successful side? No because they did not have the luck.

And Argentina remain without a World Cup trophy since 1986, and that is what matters, wins and success. Take Southampton for example, upon their recent return to the Premier League.

They have garnered plenty of plaudits for their attacking football which saw them narrowly lose to both Manchester clubs, 3-2. But surely they would rather play a dour style of football and win both games 1-0 through own goals?

The neutral fan or the purist may say no, but if Southampton are relegated come May, you can bet they will be wishing they had that extra slice of luck in their opening games.

So Di Matteo should embrace where he has taken Chelsea, no need to justify it, defend it, or measure it, if he has been lucky then so what? Football is about taking opportunities, and that is exactly what he has done.

image: © Julian Mason

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