Chelsea hopeful of swift appointment in search for new manager


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The Independent Football

Chelsea are hoping their new manager could be in place within the next two weeks, according to the club's chief executive Ron Gourlay.

Interim boss Roberto Di Matteo led the Blues to an FA Cup and Champions League double during his two-month tenure and is still firmly in the frame for the full-time position.

Di Matteo was given the job for the remainder of the season following the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas in March and led Chelsea to their first Champions League crown.

Despite the trophies it remains unclear whether owner Roman Abramovich will give the former West Brom boss the job on a full-time basis, but Gourlay is confident of an announcement in the coming weeks, no matter who is appointed.

"(A new manager could be appointed) any time over the next couple of weeks and certainly by the time we go on tour. The players report back on July 4th or 5th and in an ideal world you want the coach in position by then," he said.

Gourlay, who was appointed Chelsea's chief executive in 2009, believes Di Matteo's successful couple of months in charge mean he remains squarely in the frame, even though no discussions have taken place with Abramovich over whom should take the helm.

"It certainly would have made the discussions a bit different. The fact that he has the Champions League on his CV helps him enormously," he said.

"I know there has been speculation in the press and media about conversations with xyz - that has not been the case.

"We will sit down with a board of directors with our owner as quickly as we can and take our decision from there."

Whomever is given the managerial role at Stamford Bridge they will be working with Fernando Torres, a striker Gourlay hailed as "world class" and capable of filling the goalscoring void left by the departing Didier Drogba.

"We've got Fernando Torres. And Fernando Torres is the man that we will go forward with and Fernando Torres will score us the goals," Gourlay said.

"Have no doubt that Fernando Torres is a world-class centre-forward and Fernando Torres will score goals for Chelsea. I'm not worried at all. We've just won the Champions League and Fernando Torres played his part in that.

"It's not all about goals. It's not just about the individual scoring goals, his teamwork - he is a very, very important player."

Torres was recently critical of the club for not giving him enough chances this season, but if a new striker is signed in the summer Gourlay revealed it would be to support Torres and not to replace him.

"We may have two big-name centre-forwards scoring 25-30 goals for us next season and maybe then we will improve on our sixth position in the league," he said.