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Chelsea seek coach with European Cup credentials

Any of the favourites for the job would know that second place in the EPL won't be good enough.

| Reuters

Updated:May 24, 2011, 1:02 PM IST
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Chelsea seek coach with European Cup credentials
Any of the favourites for the job would know that second place in the EPL won't be good enough.

London: The job description for the new Chelsea vacancy on Monday was straightforward: Premier League club seeking a manager to win the Champions League.

Finding a seventh manager in the eight seasons since Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich took over at Stamford Bridge will be much trickier, even if the bookmakers' list of possibilities is extensive.

In dismissing Carlo Ancelotti on Sunday after a trophyless campaign, Chelsea's statement said the season had "fallen short of expectations" and the club's long-term ambitions remained unchanged.

Any of the favourites for the job, from Marco Van Basten to Guus Hiddink and Andre Villas Boas to Harry Redknapp, will be aware that second place in the Premier League is not good enough and that only European glory will do.

Those high expectations, which Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has branded Abramovich's "obsession" with the Champions League, have cost a string of managers their jobs.

Self-proclaimed 'Special One' Jose Mourniho is also among the names being mentioned in the British media but Chelsea's most successful manager is widely thought to have unfinished business at Real Madrid.

"His big mission is to try and break the mould there and get a lot closer to Barcelona. I think that will take up his second year," ex-Chelsea defender Paul Elliott told Talksport radio.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see Mourinho come back to London at some stage in the future and back at Stamford Bridge...he left in fairly acrimonious circumstances and I think there's a warming from Jose towards Chelsea, there's no doubt about it."

If the Portuguese is tied up in Spain, Villas Boas, the young Porto coach who has been branded the 'new Mourinho', has found himself fancied for a move to Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho's former assistant Villas Boas won the Portuguese title and Europa League this season but translating that into a Champions League triumph would be a major career leap for an 33-year-old and Porto are keen to keep him anyway.

Hiddink, another former Chelsea manager, is the only one to have left west London of his own accord under the Abramovich administration. However, the Dutchman has a contract with the Turkey national side until after Euro 2012 and he has yet to break a deal.

In his past jobs as Russia and Australia manager, his appeal has been his ability to get teams to exceed expectations but at Chelsea it is all about about meeting very high demands.

Hiddink could, perhaps, be persuaded by his friend Abramovich to return in the capacity of director of football to oversee emerging talent like Villas Boas or Dutch compatriot Van Basten but he has repeatedly ruled out becoming Chelsea coach.

Across London, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is also among the bookies' shortlist but, even though his side sparkled in their Champions League debut this season, he has not won the trophy unlike Mourinho and Ancelotti.

While uncertainty surrounds who will fill the post at one of the world's richest clubs, one thing seems certain in a place where trophies are the measure of success. Whoever gets the job will not keep it without a European Cup in the cabinet.

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