Newton raring to go

Thurrock Gazette: Eddie Newton Eddie Newton

Eddie Newton demanded "passion" from Chelsea's players after getting the shock call to join Roberto Di Matteo's backroom staff.

Former Blues midfielder Newton revealed he was getting his children ready for school on Sunday night when caretaker manager Di Matteo offered him the chance to resume the working relationship they enjoyed at MK Dons and West Brom.

Newton told Chelsea TV: "Robbie and I had a little chat. I congratulated him on getting the position. He said, 'I want you to come in', and I said, 'Okay'."

The man who spent almost a decade as a player at Stamford Bridge, scoring in the 1997 FA Cup final, added: "It has been very quick and quite emotional - everyone knows I love the club and am looking forward to giving my all."

Di Matteo and Newton's first game in charge is tonight's FA Cup fifth-round replay at Birmingham. The pair must motivate a squad who reportedly have no more affection for Di Matteo than for the sacked Andre Villas-Boas.

Newton said: "As soon as possible, I want to get stuck into the coaching, working individually with players, doing the whole shebang. If anybody wants to talk to me, I am there and let's have a bit of passion going forwards."

Di Matteo and Newton have just over two months to save Chelsea's season against a backdrop of what is already proving intense speculation about the identity of Villas-Boas' long-term successor. Reports suggest a tentative approach has already been made to Pep Guardiola, while a second coming for Jose Mourinho is also said to be a possibility.

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, reportedly sounded out prior to Villas-Boas' departure, last night gave a pretty good sales pitch while insisting a move to Stamford Bridge would not harm his relationship with Reds fans.

Quoted in The Guardian, he said: "Can anybody argue [against the fact] that the Liverpool fans love me? No. If we agree with this, what do you want for somebody who you love? The best for him. I cannot be waiting at home for five years. Everybody understands that I will need a job.

"If they want me to have the best, they can say you can manage a team at the bottom of the table or manage a team at the top of the table and try to win trophies. That is my idea, to have the option of a top side and try to win trophies. If they love me, they will understand."

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