Roberto DI Matteo shows the European Cup to thousands of Chelsea fans who thronged the streets of west London in a victory parade following the defeat of Bayern Munich. Photograph: Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
Roman Abramovich will decide this week whether Roberto Di Matteo will remain as Chelsea's manager with the players' chants of "we want him to stay" still ringing in his ears after the club's first European Cup victory.
Di Matteo has succeeded where more illustrious managers fell short at the London club, with the squad's achievement in defeating Bayern Munich on penalties celebrated in a victory parade in Fulham upon the team's return from Germany.
The 41-year-old's 11-week spell in charge since replacing André Villas-Boas ended up yielding the most glittering prize, together with an FA Cup and qualification for next season's Champions League, and Chelsea's squad made it clear to Abramovich that he is their choice to take over at Stamford Bridge on a full‑time basis.
Players chanted Di Matteo's name, singing "we want him to stay", as Abramovich addressed the squad in the dressing room on Saturday evening. The club's owner greeted the chorus with a smile and went on to stress that he considered this just the beginning in terms of Chelsea's European aspirations, suggesting he will follow through with ambitions to strengthen the squad over the summer.
The club's immediate priority remains the search for a permanent manager and, although Di Matteo remains an outsider for the position vacated by Villas-Boas, his prospects were clearly improved by victory at the Allianz Arena. The Italian's contract expires on 30 June and before he goes on holiday this week he will speak to the owner.
"Roman will be in London this week but, while I don't know what the schedule is, we know we have to start thinking about it," said the chairman, Bruce Buck. "Our job and our objective is to do what's best for Chelsea Football Club and we have to sit down and figure that out.
"It's six weeks since we've discussed it. Roberto's certainly done a lot [in that time] and we've heard from a number of the players that they'd like to see him as manager.
"But we stopped the process of considering the manager for next season before the first Barcelona match at the beginning of April.
"That's something we have to pick up on Monday but there's no doubt we recognise the great contribution Robbie has made to the club, not just in bringing home two trophies but really in turning around the confidence of these players. He's shown the ability to put them where they should be. They are great technical players, we all agree that, but something was going wrong and he was able to turn it around. He deserves a lot of credit for that."
Pep Guardiola has long been Abramovich's preferred candidate and the credentials of Laurent Blanc, Harry Redknapp and even Fabio Capello are likely to be considered. Yet, asked whether it could be considered dangerous to go against the clear will of both the players and the fans who chorused Di Matteo's name in Germany, Buck said: "That's one of the considerations. It's not been a subject on our agenda for the last six weeks and now we have to sit down and make it our No1 subject – even before we start thinking about players."
Of the players involved in Munich the Ivorian pair Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou are out of contract next month, with talks planned between the chief executive, Ron Gourlay, and Drogba's representative later this week.
The 34-year-old striker had been seeking a two-season deal to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge beyond eight years, with the club reluctant to offer such a lengthy commitment. It remains to be seen if that stance will shift in the wake of the veteran's match-winning performances in both the FA Cup and Champions League finals, and during the victory parade on Sunday his team-mates also sang for him to be allowed to remain.
"Ron is going to meet Didier's agent this week and we'll see how those discussions progress," said Buck. "We love Didier. He's a great player but we have to think about what's right for Didier and what's right for Chelsea.
"He's a man for the big game and always has been. He's also got to think about what's best for him in the next few years."
The London club intend to strengthen again this summer – they are preaching evolution rather than revolution – as an acknowledgment of a sixth-place finish, the lowest of the Abramovich era, in the Premier League. Interest is retained in the strikers Radamel Falcao of Atlético Madrid, Hulk at Porto and Napoli's Edinson Cavani.
"There will be a couple of players in and a couple of players out but I don't think there will be a revolution," said Buck. "As for our ambition there are a lot of teams with three and four of those stars [on their shirts] out there. We have one."