Russia manager Fabio Capello plays down Chelsea speculation

Russia manager Fabio Capello plays down talk of the former England boss succeeding Rafael Benítez at Chelsea in the summer

rafael benitez
Rafael Benítez is set to leave Chelsea in the summer Photo: The Sport Review

rafael benitez

Fabio Capello has played down reports which suggest the Russia manager could replace Rafael Benítez at Chelsea in the summer.

The former England head coach is among the names linked with the Stamford Bridge position, with interim boss Benítez set to leave the west London side at the end of the season.

But Capello, who took charge of Russia in July, says he is unaware of speculation linking him with the Blues ahead of Friday night’s clash against Northern Ireland.

“I know nothing about this [link to Chelsea]. I am really happy with Russia and focused to qualify for the World Cup,” he said.

Capello, whose Russia side are top of Group H, anticipates a difficult 2014 World Cup qualifier, with the Italian expecting the conditions to play a part in the clash at Windsor Park.

“I am not concerned about the pitch, more about the wind than the pitch,” he said. “If we play in this wind it will be a difficult game.

“I hope the wind will be lower or it will be a different type of game.”

Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland side have drawn their last three qualifiers but Capello is adamant Russia will not underestimate their opponents on Friday night.

“They are a strong team and play a really combative game,” he added.

“They are dangerous from set-pieces. It is not an easy game but I have confidence in my team.

“We have Portugal and Israel to come but I am focused on this game. Every game is difficult.”

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