European champion Chelsea shocked its fans on Tuesday when it parted ways with coach Roberto Di Matteo. Ten hours later, the club announced the hiring of former Liverpool manager
Rafael Benitez as interim coach until the end of the season.
Di Matteo lasted at Chelsea for around eight months after taking over from Andre Villas-Boas, during which time he famously guided the Blues to the 2012 FA Cup and UEFA Champions League titles. A statement from Chelsea read: "The team's recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.”
Chelsea had won just two of its last eight games in all competitions; Tuesday’s 3-0 loss away to Juventus in the Champions League put the reigning champion on the brink of elimination.
Benitez, who has signed with Chelsea until the end of the season, has been out of work since being fired by Inter Milan in December 2010 after just six months on the job. "The owner and the Board believe that in Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives," Chelsea said in a statement.