Chelsea have discussed the position of Jose Mourinho as the first doubts begin to surface among senior officials about whether he can turn around the team’s terrible start to the season, Football Insider sources understand.
Mourinho still has the support of Roman Abramovoich but some of the owner’s advisers are being tested by the team’s continued dire form.
Abramovich was at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and the club’s hierarchy held conversations about Mourinho’s future in the wake of the 3-1 home defeat to Southampton.
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It was Chelsea’s fifth defeat of the season in all competitions, and their fourth in eight Premier League matches in what has been an unexpectedly poor defence of the title they won in May.
Mourinho is far from secure in his position despite signing a new four-year contract in July and being the most popular manager in the club’s history.
The Chelsea board want Mourinho to create a dynasty and accept that his track record has earned him the right to be given time to climb the table but they will not hesitate to axe the Portugese if they are in danger of not finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Roberto di Matteo was sacked months after winning the Champions League, while Andre Villas-Boas and Luiz Felipe Scolari were axed mid-season when a top-four finish was in doubt.
Mourinho is settled with his family and is determined to make it work at Stamford Bridge but admitted at the weekend that he feared the sack.
In a seven-minute answer live on television, he admitted: “I don’t run away. If the club wants to sack me they have to sack me because I’m not running away from my responsibilities or my team.”
In other Chelsea news, Mourinho has confirmed that teenager Ruben Loftus-Cheek will start the club’s next game and be given a run of games after the international break.