By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Chelsea will not sack Jose Mourinho in the wake of their eighth Premier League defeat of the season, Football Insider sources understand.
Roman Abramovich has pledged to stick with the under-fire Portugese following fresh discussions with the club’s board following Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Bournemouth.
Abramovich watched from his hospitality box as Chelsea suffered a setback that leaves them marooned in 14th place in the Premier League table, just three points above the relegation zone and a distant 14 points behind fourth-placed Manchester United.
Mourinho took training on Sunday and is preparing his side for Wednesday night’s vital Champions League home clash against Porto.
Defeat to the team Mourinho steered to a Champions League triumph in 2004 and elimination from the Champions League would place enormous pressure on the manager’s shoulders and may alter Abramovich’s thinking.
A senior Chelsea source has told Football Insider that the owner is concerned about the team’s drastic decline but he still thinks the Portugese can turn it around.
Mourinho admitted after Saturday’s defeat that Chelsea are in serious danger of finishing outside of the top four this season and top six may be the best they can hope for.
“Defeat has put us in, I repeat, not a dangerous position but our objective is not to fight for relegation,” he said. “If our objective is to finish top four, maybe we have to think about top six.”
Abramovich is putting his faith in the most successful manager in the club’s history and is also aware that the only available option of similar calibre is Carlo Ancelotti, who is being lined up by Bayern Munich as a replacement for Pep Guardiola at the end of the season.
There is now likely to be a major overhaul of the Chelsea squad next year, firstly in the January transfer window and then again next summer.
The Londoners released a statement in October to confirm that the Portugese retained their “full support” but recognised “results have not been good enough and the team’s performances must improve”.
Chelsea subsequently beat Aston Villa 2-0 to give hope that a corner had been turned but have followed up with four more Premier League defeats.
Should there be little signs of improvements in results or performances, Chelsea are ready to take the nuclear option and axe the most popular manager in the club’s history.
Anything other than a top-four Premier League finish is unthinkable for Abramovich, who regards Champions League football as a minimum requirement every season.
Football Insider revealed on 5 October that Chelsea had discussed Mourinho’s position as the first doubts began to surface among senior officials about whether he can arrest the team’s slide.
Mourinho still has the support of Abramovoich but some of the owner’s advisers are being tested by the team’s continued dire form.
Mourinho is far from secure in his position despite signing a new four-year contract in July and his status with supporters.