Chelsea will have to win a trophy this season to stand any chance of securing Guus Hiddink as permanent boss.
The Stamford Bridge hierarchy have consistently claimed that the Dutchman will not be in charge next season. But Sportsmail has learned that Hiddink has told some of his senior players that he may still have a long-term future at the west London club if they win a trophy under his caretaker leadership.
The Russia coach, who agreed to take over at Chelsea after the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari in February, has continued to insist publicly that he will leave in May and go back to his international job full-time.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck also reiterated the club's claim at the weekend that they are looking elsewhere for a permanent manager to be in charge next season.
But Hiddink is believed to be loving life at Stamford Bridge and is waiting to see what the team can achieve under his reign before making a final decision.
Chelsea are still in contention for three major trophies with six weeks of the campaign left to go.
They take on Liverpool in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tonight, where they already lead 3-1, face Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final on Saturday and also trail Manchester United by just four points in the Premier League.
Some senior players have been led to believe that victory in any of the competitions could be enough to convince Hiddink to stay.
The Dutchman remains determined to say otherwise in public, but according to one source that is because he doesn't want the issue to overshadow the big games that lie ahead.