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The former Blues striker says it would be unfair to "other people" to comment on reports suggesting he could be a candidate to take over at Stamford Bridge in the summer

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola has refused to state whether or not he would be interested in taking over at Chelsea when Rafael Benitez departs the club in the summer.

The former Blues striker has returned to management with the second-tier Hornets this season, guiding them to third place in the Championship and contention for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

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Zola, alongside the likes of Jose Mourinho and Fabio Capello, is reportedly among the candidates to succeed interim boss Benitez but the 46-year-old remained cryptic when asked if the role would interest him.

"I would like to answer that question but I can't," he told The Times. "It would be unfair to other people. That club is special for me, but for now I'm committed here."

Zola has once again defended Watford's controversial use of the loan system following criticism from the likes of Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway.

The Hertfordshire club were taken over by the Pozzo family, who also own Udinese in the summer, and have since loaned 10 players from the Serie A club in addition to four others from elsewhere.

Football League rules dictate that clubs may name only five loan players in a matchday squad but temporary deals from foreign clubs do not count towards that limit.

"I paid attention for a little bit, but I stopped because it is nonsense," Zola said. "We're not doing anything wrong. We're just playing football, in many cases better than the opposition. That's what matters."

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