Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has refused to back coach Claudio Ranieri amid ccontinued specualtion that the Italian is set to be fired at the end of the season.

Ranieri demanded the club to issue a statement to clarify his position, but Kenyon refused to make a definite commitment to the Italian.

“We wish to reiterate Claudio has over three years left on his deal,” he said.

Ranieri is reported to have told his players on Monday: “I know what’s going on, you know what’s going on. Let’s get on with the rest of our season.”

This was believed to be in response to Kenyon’s lukewarn endorsement of the Chelsea coach.

“This wave of unprecedented speculation about Claudio’s future is unhelpful to our manager and players,” said the Chelsea chief executive.

“We’re at an exciting stage of the season where we stand second in the Premiership and have the chance to advance to the semi-finals of the Champions League.

“It is important that we all work closely together to maintain our momentum and challenge for honours at the highest level.”

Earlier Ranieri called on the club to end speculation by making an announcement on his future.

“It’s not important for me, but it is important for the players,” he said. “If I’m under pressure, it’s not a problem for me. But I want to save the season.

“I think the club should say now: ‘It is all rubbish. Continue to work’.”