Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck says owner Roman Abramovich has already begun considering who will replace Rafa Benitez as manager at the end of the season.

Benitez was installed as interim first team coach in November but having previously admitted he expects to leave the club at the end of the season, Abramovich is seeking a permanent replacement for Roberto di Matteo.

While Buck admits the club are fully focused on achieving Champions League qualification for next season he admits Chelsea's Russian owner has turned his attention to the vacant position and is not ruling out a return for a former manager.

Bruce Buck
Buck says Abramovich is considering his options.

"I am completely open-minded about it," Buck said about a new appointment.

"We really haven't started that [process] yet. We're all thinking about it and have some ideas and certainly Mr Abramovich is thinking about it. I think the real search for a manager will begin once the season ends in the middle of May. At the moment we're concentrating on the end of the season.

"We're really trying to get top three or top four place in the Premier League so we get in the Champions League next year.

"That's really important for us and of course we're still in two big competitions - UEFA cup and FA cup - so I think the real search for a new manager will begin once the season ends in the middle of May."

Amid the interim spells of Guus Hiddink and Benitez, Abramovich is seeking to appoint what would be the eighth permanent manager of his ten-year spell at Chelsea.

Chelsea's formidable managerial strike-rate has earned them an unwanted reputation in English football but Buck has defended their strict policy, claiming the club's healthy trophy haul has justified their no-nonsense approach.

"I know we have fired what most people would say are a lot of managers - terminated the relationship is a better way to describe it - but we've always thought long and hard when we've done it," Buck told Al Jazeera at the Business of Sport summit in Singapore.

"It's always difficult, it's always sad when a relationship is terminated. We don't look back, we always look forward and see where we're going and figure out how we get there. We certainly believe in stability in managers, but it has to be with the right manager."

"We certainly believe in stability in managers but it has to be with the right manager and every time our relationship with a manager is terminated we think it's for good reason," added Buck.

"It's generally worked out well when we've brought in a new manager and I guess the proof is in the pudding in that over the last 10 years we've pretty much had a trophy every single year."