SPORT

Rafael Benítez Hints At José Mourinho Chelsea Return

07/05/2013 14:51 BST | Updated 07/05/2013 16:19 BST

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

Interim boss Benítez 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 1 July mooted.

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

rafael benitez jose mourinho

Benítez and Mourinho experienced a strained relationship in England

Benítez 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. Benítez, 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."