Portsmouth midfielder Richard Hughes has hit back after reports in which he appeared to cast doubts over Avram Grant's future.
Grant's position at Stamford Bridge has been under the spotlight ever since he replaced Jose Mourinho in September, despite guiding Chelsea to the UEFA Champions League final and keeping them firmly in the Premier League title race.
Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard, who is expected to leave Camp Nou after a disappointing season, has been repeatedly linked with the Blues hot-seat.
And supposed comments from Hughes, who is said to be a close friend of the Israeli from their time together at Portsmouth when Grant was director of football, added fuel to the fire.
The latest round of speculation was sparked when Hughes was quoted as saying that Grant would be happy to move aside and let Rijkaard take over in the summer.
But in a statement on Portsmouth's official website the 28-year-old said he has not been in contact with Grant since he left Fratton Park.
"Today's stories concerning the future of Avram Grant in certain papers is totally misleading," Hughes said.
"I have not spoken to Avram since he left to join Chelsea and nor have I ever said I have. I have certainly never discussed his future at Chelsea.
"The words reported were a misrepresentation of what I have said and have caused me a great deal of distress, particularly as Avram is someone I have huge respect for.
"I will speak to Avram to put forward my side of the story and to assure him that the words attributed to me were totally misleading."