West Brom star Youssouf Mulumbu today insisted he is ready to give friend Roberto Di Matteo a miserable return to The Hawthorns on Saturday.
The Baggies midfielder says sentiment will be put aside when Di Matteo brings Chelsea to town for his first managerial return to his former club. Mulumbu said today: “He has done very well. He is still quite young but he drove the Chelsea team on. So all my praise goes to him, but I’m looking to beat him.
“I won’t be looking to shake any hands or be kind to people, I will be looking to get three points and maybe go fourth in the league
“He has a strong team but let’s see what happens on Saturday. I’m quite confident. I’ve got a good relationship with Di Matteo off the pitch.
“I still speak with him and we keep in touch. He was a great coach for me because he played in my position and I owe him a lot.”
Albion were today sweating on the fitness of defender Gareth McAuley, who struggled at the end of Northern Ireland’s draw with Azerbaijan last night with an apparent hamstring problem.
But Mulumbu is confident of being fit to face the Blues despite withdrawing from international duty with DR Congo.
“I hope I will be fit,” he said. “After Wigan I felt something in my hamstring and we didn’t want to take any risks with me going to the international and coming back tired or with an injury.
“It happened during the Wigan game but the gaffer had made all of his changes so I had to stay on.”
Sweden defender Jonas Olsson will return to the club today fresh from his part in the 4-2 win against England in Stockholm.
And he believes Di Matteo’s shock sacking by Albion in 2011 has worked out well for both parties with the Baggies climbing the table and the Italian leading Chelsea to the European Cup.
“When he left here the board just wanted to go another way,” said Olsson. “It wasn’t a case of players falling out or losing trust with them.
“Sometimes it’s like that in football. In Sweden we have a saying that everything happens for a reason - it worked out well for West Brom and it worked out well for Robbie as well.”