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Ranieri eyes Chelsea job next season
May 09, 2004 13:45 IST
Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri has countered months of speculation about his future by saying he could still be in charge next season.
The Italian's job has been in the spotlight ever since Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich bought the club last July, with even Ranieri seeming reconciled to the axe in recent weeks.
But asked if next week's season-ending game against Leeds United would be his last with Chelsea, he told Sky Sports News on Saturday: "I don't bet about it. I believe I can stay here."
Speaking after Chelsea drew 1-1 at Manchester United to secure second place in the premier league and a slot in the Champions League, the Italian said: "Everything is open.
"I feel this, it's an impression. It's not finished yet...I don't close my door."
As for whether he could win the premier league next season if he were allowed to stay on, Ranieri said: "It would be difficult to win, for me or for another coach.
"But I think the foundations are good. This is a great group (of players), with good spirit and I think we can improve again."
Ranieri has had to build a team with a host of new players after Abramovich's arrival sparked a $200 million (110 million pounds) spending spree.
Along with second place in the table, Chelsea reached the Champions League semi-finals before bowing out after a 2-2 draw last Wednesday at home to Monaco, sealing a 5-3 aggregate defeat.
As he prepared for Wednesday's game, Ranieri made it clear he expected to leave Chelsea at the end of the season, with speculation pointing to Jose Mourinho, coach of Champions League finalists and UEFA Cup holders Porto as his successor.
Suggesting his successor had been lined up, he told reporters on Tuesday: "I know who it is, just like you."