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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Sep 26, 2007

Blues refute manager speculation

Chelsea have denied speculation they offered the manager's job to anyone other than Avram Grant.

Reports today suggested the club had spoken to Holland coach Marco van Basten with regards to becoming the long-term successor to Jose Mourinho, who left Stamford Bridge last week.

Director of football Avram Grant was installed in the aftermath of the Portuguese's departure and, having lost 2-0 in his first match at Old Trafford, takes the team to Hull in the Carling Cup tonight.

'Contrary to media reports this morning, Chelsea Football Club totally refute that the job of manager or first team coach has been offered to any individual other than Avram Grant,' said a club statement.

'No one at Chelsea FC has been authorised to speak to any individual about the post, either by the board or the owner.

'Also any suggestion that any team plans or arrangements have been changed due to representations from players is also totally false.

'Chelsea is considering its position regarding further action in light of these reports.'

Meanwhile, Germany captain Michael Ballack has revealed that he hoped to be back in full training with weeks.

Ballack, 31 today, has been struggling to regain full fitness after undergoing two operations on his damaged ankle.

But Ballack said: 'It's getting better, I keep going with my rehab programme, I can train outside and I am quite happy now with the way we work.

'I work very hard and I hope that I can come back soon,' he told Chelsea TV.

Ballack has been running in a sandpit to try to speed-up his recovery rate but admits it is tough going.

He added: 'It is very hard for the condition but it is good for the foot so it is part of my programme now.

'It is much better; I had to wait a long time to be at this level now, so I am happy. I hope in a few weeks I will be back on the pitch, I can train with the team and also be playing.'