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Friday 29 August 2014

Benitez hints at Mourinho return

Published 07/05/2013 | 13:46

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Jose Mourinho, right, has been tipped to replace Rafael Benitez, left, at Chelsea

Rafael Benitez has suggested that he expects Jose Mourinho to be named his successor as Chelsea manager.

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Interim boss Benitez again confirmed he will depart Stamford Bridge this summer at the end of his short-term contract. Real Madrid head coach Mourinho, who left after three years as Blues boss in September 2007, has been strongly linked with a return, with a date of July 1 mooted.

"The next year there will be another manager," said Benitez, who replaced Roberto Di Matteo in November. "I think everybody knows who will be here."

Due to his prior association with Liverpool, where he regularly crossed swords with Mourinho both domestically and in Europe, Benitez was an unpopular appointment among fans, the majority of whom adore the Portuguese.

He would not be drawn into naming names, but it was clear Benitez was responding to the clamour for Mourinho.

The Spaniard said: "I will concentrate on my job now. I have to concentrate on my job. It's not my concern now."

Benitez has quietly moved within sight of his targets since the vitriol towards him quietened down in the wake of his plea to supporters following the FA Cup win at Middlesbrough in February.

Chelsea are in next week's Europa League final against Benfica and well placed in the Barclays Premier League for a return to the Champions League.

Victory in the London derby with Tottenham would see third-placed Chelsea move six points clear of Spurs with two games to play and a far superior goal difference. Benitez, who has been linked with German side Schalke, would not comment on his own future and preferred to focus on Spurs.

"My future is Tottenham, after we will see," he said. "At the moment I'm just thinking about Tottenham and what we could do. I have to keep doing my job, that is trying to prepare the team properly for every game and the agents, they have to do their jobs."

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