Top-four finish priority for Chelsea confirms chief executive Ron Gourlay
The Blues remain in the Europa League and FA Cup
Wednesday 06 March 2013
Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay has reiterated the club's focus remains on securing Champions League football next term before a permanent managerial appointment is made.
Rafael Benitez, whose side take on Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League tomorrow night, was appointed interim boss after the Blues became the first Champions League holders to exit the competition at the group stage earlier this season.
Former Liverpool manager Benitez was never a popular appointment at Stamford Bridge and confirmed last week he would be leaving at the end of the campaign, in order to encourage supporters to back the team, rather than barrack him.
That rant, coupled with his criticism of the 'interim manager' title, led to suggestions the Spaniard could depart prior to the end of the season, while speculation of a permanent replacement for Roberto Di Matteo has been incessant.
Gourlay, who was speaking in Kuala Lumpur while promoting the forthcoming tour, said the status quo remains for now, with Benitez on course to fulfil his brief.
"Achieving one of the Champions League qualification slots is very important to this football club," Gourlay said on chelseafc.com.
"Our whole philosophy is based on success on the football field and we have been doing everything in our power to ensure one of these slots. We want to be pitting ourselves against the top clubs in Europe next season.
"We said from day one that Rafa was coming in as interim manager to the end of the season.
"It is important that we remain focused on the job in hand which is qualifying for the Champions League and then at the end of the season we will sit down, have a look at the situation and we will determine how we go forward."
Latest in Sport
Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3: Mario Balotelli and Gary Lineker lead the trolling of United
Police probe Mario Balotelli racist abuse as Kick It Out voice their displeasure
Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
Manchester City vs Chelsea match report: Frank Lampard shows no joy after denying Chelsea victory
Leicester City 5 Manchester United 3 player ratings: Leonard Ulloa? Radamel Falcao? Jamie Vardy? Angel Di Maria? Who was the star man?
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'