There is a rising expectation that Jose Mourinho will return as Chelsea manager next season, according to Blues defender Branislav Ivanovic.
Mourinho gave his broadest hint yet that he will make an emotional return to Stamford Bridge after his Real Madrid side were knocked out of the Champions League in a thrilling semi-final against Borussia Dortmund.
The Portuguese stated after the match that he was "hated" by some in Spain but in England, knew he was "loved by some clubs, especially one."
Now Ivanovic has added fuel to the rising tide of expectation, with his excitement at the potential return of the 50-year-old tactician evident in an interview with Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti.
"Everyone at Chelsea hopes Mourinho returns," said Ivanovic, with his comments translated in several British newspapers. "The players have had no confirmation that he is returning, but we all want it to happen because he is one of the best coaches in the world.
"He is immensely respected by everyone and he has done well at the club in the past. With him we can be stronger as a club, it would be another dimension of Chelsea and is sure to become one of the main competitors for the title."