Chelsea's players are beginning to increase the clamourÂ for Guus Hiddink to stay in charge of the team on a permanent basis.
The Dutchman continues to insist that he will leave the interim role with Chelsea and return his focus to the Russia national team at the end of the season. But Chelsea have reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the last eight of the Champions League in a seven-match unbeaten run under Hiddink's control.
Now a number of the key first-team players have already stated they want him to remain Stamford Bridge beyond the summer, with midfielder Michael Ballack saying: "I would love for him to say he is staying for three years. Everybody in the club and around the club can feel he is a great manager and even in a short time he has had a big influence on the team."
Ballack's sentiments were echoed by the club's Czech Republic international goalkeeper Petr Cech.
He is a player who has rediscovered his top form under the Dutchman's influence.
"He is a very good coach and we want him to stay," said Cech. "But it is a difficult political situation and we will have to wait to see what happens."
The political situation will ultimately be solved by the Russian Football Union. They allowed Hiddink to join Chelsea because of his close relationship with the club's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.
Their friendship could be tested to the limit in the summer if the pressure grows on Hiddink to remain with Chelsea on a full-time basis.
Russian Football Union president, Vitaly Mutko, admitted things could change in the summer but says it would be better for Hiddink to remain in charge of a national side.
"At the moment, we have an agreement with Guus Hiddink that he will combine the two posts onlyÂ until the summer," said Mutko. "Of course, everything can change, but we should take into account that, for Hiddink, it is better to work with a national side. He is not only a coach but also an organiser, a politician - not a club man."
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