Soccer: Benitez expects Mourinho to replace him

Rafael Benitez said today that he expected to be replaced as Chelsea coach by the club's former manager, Jose Mourinho.

Interim Chelsea manager Benitez reiterated that he would be leaving Stamford Bridge as planned at the end of the season, having signed a short-term contract in November following the sacking of Roberto di Matteo.

Real Madrid coach Mourinho, who left the London club in September 2007 after three years in charge, has been strongly linked with a return to his former side.

"The next year there will be another manager," said Benitez.

"I think everybody knows who will be here," the Spaniard added, in a clear reference to Portuguese manager Mourinho.

However, Benitez would not be drawn into referring to Mourinho directly by name and insisted that the speculation about the identity of his successor would not distract him from the task at hand.

"I will concentrate on my job now. I have to concentrate on my job. It's not my concern now," he said.

For all he has done in guiding Chelsea into next week's Europa League final against Benfica, Benitez has never been accepted by the Blues faithful on account of his prolonged war of words with the Londoners in general - and Mourinho in particular - when he was in charge of Liverpool.

However, he is on the brink of securing a return to the Champions League for Chelsea. Victory over Tottenham Hotspur in Wednesday's London derby would see the third-placed Blues move six points clear of Spurs with two games of the season left and a far better goal difference.

As to his own future, Benitez - who has been linked with German club Schalke - said: "My future is Tottenham. After, we will see. 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."

- AFP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n4 at 02 Oct 2014 17:38:10 Processing Time: 734ms