Benitez expects Chelsea return for Mourinho

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Rafael Benitez yesterday suggested that he expects Jose Mourinho to be named his successor as Chelsea manager.

Interim boss Benitez again confirmed he will depart Stamford Bridge this summer at the end of his short-term contract.

Real Madrid head coach Mourinho, who left after three years as Blues boss in September 2007, has been strongly linked with a return, with a date of 1 July. “The next year there will be another manager,” said Benitez, who replaced Roberto Di Matteo in November. “I think everybody knows who will be here.”

Due to his prior association with Liverpool, where he regularly crossed swords with Mourinho, Benitez was an unpopular appointment among fans. He would not be drawn into naming names, but it was clear Benitez was responding to the clamour for Mourinho.

Benitez has moved within sight of his targets for the season. Chelsea are in next week’s Europa League final against Benfica and well placed in the Barclays Premier League for a return to the Champions League. Victory in tonight’s London derby with Tottenham would see third-placed Chelsea move six points clear of Spurs with two games to play and a far superior goal difference.

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