Chelsea 'open minded' over next manager as Jose Mourinho speculation continues

Blues refuse to rule out move for former manager

Chelsea have left the door open to a return for Jose Mourinho after stating they are “completely open minded” about a potential successor to Rafael Benitez.

Unpopular interim-manager Benitez is set to depart Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, and while chairman Bruce Buck insists the club are yet to draw up a shortlist of names for the post, he clearly isn't ruling anyone out just yet.

"I am completely open minded about it," said Buck when he was asked about Mourinho and if anyone had been ruled out of the running. "We're all thinking about it and have some ideas and certainly Mr Abramovich is thinking about it. At the moment we're concentrating on the end of the season."

Mourinho saw his Real Madrid side stutter into the semi-finals of the Champions League despite defeat to Galatasaray on Tuesday evening, but the Portuguese is clearly unsettled at the Bernabeu and is likely to depart the Spanish capital in the summer. Madrid currently trail rivals Barcelona by 13 points and the season has been largely disrupted by an on-going dispute between Mourinho and goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Speaking after last night's game in Istanbul, Mourinho said his future would be discussed at the end of the season with club president Florentino Perez.

"When the season ends I will sit down with who I have to sit down with, who as well as being the president is also my friend and is the legal and emotional representative of all Real Madrid fans," he said.

"We will sit down quietly and talk about my future, like two friends."

Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to return to England.

The departure of Benitez means Chelsea are making plans for their tenth manager in as many years, however Buck defended the club's record of dismissing managers since Abramovich assumed control in June 2003. 

"I know we have fired what most people would say are a lot of managers - terminated the relationship is a better way to describe it - but we've always thought long and hard when we've done it.

"It's always difficult, it's always sad when a relationship is terminated. We don't look back, we always look forward and see where we're going and figure out how we get there. We certainly believe in stability in managers, but it has to be with the right manager."

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