Guardiola laughs off links with Chelsea job


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The Independent Football

Pep Guardiola last night laughed off speculation linking him with the vacant post at Stamford Bridge. He was asked if he had been contacted by Chelsea and jokingly replied: "Every day, every day."

The 41-year-old coach, whose deal at the Nou Camp runs out on 30 June, also backed the fired Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas. The two met at last season's coaches' forum in Nyon, Switzerland, and Villas-Boas, despite having once been an assistant to the present Real Madrid manager, Jose Mourinho, was an outspoken admirer of the Barcelona coach.

Guardiola said of Villas-Boas: "I think he is a fantastic coach but we all know that in this business everything depends on results and not on our own capacity as a coach. Time is not something you get but when you do this job you know that. I can't comment any more because I don't know the situation at Chelsea."

Barcelona will be in the Champions League quarter-final draw on 16 March if they maintain a 3-1 first-leg lead over Bayer Leverkusen tonight.

The Germany coach Joachim Löw has refused to comment on speculation linking him with the vacancy at Chelsea. A report in a Swiss newspaper claimed he had met Chelsea's owner, Roman Abramovich, in a Geneva hotel to discuss the possibility of the 52-year-old replacing Villas-Boas.

Chelsea denied any meeting had taken place and Löw, in Geneva with the German Football Federation, yesterday declined to discuss the issue. He said: "I have a contract as national team coach until 2014. The European Championship starts in three months and everyone knows my goal. I see no reason for me to comment on speculation."

The Swansea manager, Brendan Rodgers, emphatically ruled himself out, saying: "If any of our fans are wondering about me and Chelsea, they need not panic. I am trying to build my career and not destroy it."