Hiddink remains favourite as Chelsea's manager search continues

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Chelsea's search for a manager continues, despite Guus Hiddink being heavily linked with a return to the club.

Since the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti on Sunday, a host of names have been linked with the vacant manager's position at Stamford Bridge.

But while Hiddink appears to be the front-runner, the Russian is refusing to be drawn on speculation linking him with The Blues.

"I have in my career very few games. I want to do more with the players on a daily basis but that is impossible because I am national team manager," he said.

"But I am not going into the speculation as I have to prepare the team and to make sure that no one can blame me afterwards saying I was concentrating on other things. I am not going into speculation, I am fully concentrated. I demand full commitment from myself so I will not go into speculation.

"I am being forced by circumstances to go into a tunnel and exclude a little bit the outside world. I have heard a lot of rumours and speculation.

"I have told the players they must focus on Belgium and the same goes for me. I am fully focused on getting the team ready for next Friday."


Reports earlier in the week suggested Hiddink would join Chelsea, but as director of football, while Marco Van Basten would be at the helm, despite his modest experience in management.

Given his superb record with Porto and the comparisons with Jose Mourinho, Andre Villas-Boas has been heavily linked with a move to the club, but his £13 million release clause from the Portuguese treble winners and his inexperience in the Champions League, a competition that Roman Abramovich craves success in, may rule him out of the running.

Harry Redknapp is another being hotly tipped to take over, but his limited success as a manager, having only won the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008, his current position at Tottenham Hotspur, which would make a move across London difficult and the possibility of the England job becoming vacant after next summer's European Championships make him an outsider.

The Sun report that Mourinho himself has turned down the opportunity to make a sensational return, but that the Real Madrid boss wants to stay in La Liga.

A friend of Mourinho's said: "Jose makes no secret that Chelsea has a special place in his heart and that one day he'd love to go back. The trouble is nothing seems to have changed at Stamford Bridge since he left, they're still making the same old mistakes."

On Wednesday evening, Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini was linked with the position after his agent revealed that it would be natural for Chelsea to come after the Chilean boss.

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