Sidwell: Chelsea owner supports staff
By Football News
Fulham midfielder Steve Sidwell has insisted there is support for both players and coaches at Chelsea, despite Roberto Di Matteo's sacking.
Sidwell spent a season at Stamford Bridge under Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant after arriving from Reading on a free transfer in the off-season in 2007.
While he admits he was surprised by Di Matteo's premature dismissal, the 29-year-old said the Blues hierarchy do provide adequate support for players and management staff.
"I was pretty shocked by the news, just like everyone else," Sidwell told Goal.com.
"He did a good job last year and wasn't doing too badly this year, although last night's result wasn't great in the Champions League, and that's obviously the Holy Grail for Chelsea.
"Manager-wise, it's a results business, and Chelsea want to be competing at the highest level and winning the biggest trophies year-in, year-out.
"It's a hot seat to take, but the people who take the job have the credentials to bring silverware. If it doesn't happen, their tenure is cut short, but I think on the whole there is support at Chelsea."
Much has been made of the dictatorial approach Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich takes towards club ownership, with suggestions he often exerts an influence over team selection through intermediaries.
But while Sidwell admits the Russian's shadow looms large at the club, he said the Blues management always took responsibility for footballing decisions.
"There were times when Abramovich would come down to the training ground to see the boys after some good results and after some bad ones, too," he admitted.
"When he does come down, everyone sits up and takes notice, because he's there and he's got that aura around him.
"But what happens on the field is completely different to what goes on upstairs. Instructions are passed down, but it's left up to the manager to make decisions on the footballing side."
Managerial changes aside, Sidwell believes the biggest long-term challenge Chelsea face is to replace dressing room leaders such as John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole.
"At the time I was there, the one certain thing was that it was a tight dressing room," he continued.
"People like Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole brought everyone together through thick and thin.
"They did it last year in the Champions League with people writing them off, and I think they've done it this year as well.
"Those guys are coming towards the later stages of their careers now, and Chelsea do need to find a new crop.
"But I'm sure that with the size of the club they are now, with their scouting network around the world, they're trying hard to find those players, along with every other club.
"It's hard with the competition and money out there, but I'm sure they'll be able to bring the right youngsters in and kick on."