Championship tougher than ever insists ex West Brom boss Roberto Di Matteo

Albion’s former promotion-winning boss Roberto Di Matteo believes life in the Championship is tougher than ever.

Roberto Di Matteo and Tony Mowbray along with former West Bromwich Albion players for both Team Morrison and Team Brunt are presented to the fans at The Hawthorns on September 24, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Roberto Di Matteo and Tony Mowbray along with former West Bromwich Albion players for both Team Morrison and Team Brunt are presented to the fans at The Hawthorns on September 24, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

The Italian led the Baggies to their fourth promotion in nine seasons to the English top flight 2009/10, which sparked a run of eight successful Premier League seasons.

But Albion have since spent four of the last five campaigns, including the current season which sees Steve Bruce’s team down in 21st, back in the second tier.

The division remains typically competitive with just three points separating the bottom three and the top half during the season’s first international break and Di Matteo, boss for 83 games between 2009 and 2011, feels the league is as difficult to escape as ever.

“The Championship – every year it becomes increasingly difficult,” Di Matteo told the Express & Star.

“To be competitive, there are many variables that have to be right.

“From a good team, having a good budget to be able to build a good team, having good management. It’s a really difficult league, it’s not easy when you drop down.

“It was easier to get out of it than it is now, once you drop down you go into a league where probably half of them have the opportunity to get promoted, so it’s really tough.

“Every weekend you see the results, there are no real favourites.”

Di Matteo, 52, went on to win a Champions League in charge of former club Chelsea. He was back in The Hawthorns dugouts last weekend alongside another successful Albion boss, Tony Mowbray, for a Clash Of The Legends charity fixture.

He has, however, been out of management since a short and unsuccessful stint at Villa at the start of the 2016/17 Championship season, where Di Matteo won just once in 12 games.

“Right now I probably don’t have the ambition but you never know, in life circumstances change, you might find that ambition again,” he added. “It was great fun to be on the touchline and see all those ex-players of mine, we had a really good relationship and a successful time.”

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