EXCLUSIVE | By Editor
Jose Mourinho will be given another month to turn around Chelsea’s catastrophic start to the season, Football Insider sources understand.
The London club released a statement on Monday to confirm that the Portugese retained their “full support” but recognised “results have not been good enough and the team’s performances must improve”.
Mourinho faces a pivotal run of matches after the international break, with a Premier League clash against Aston Villa the first of five fixtures in 14 days that also feature League matches against West Ham and Liverpool, and trips to Dynamo Kiev and Stoke, in the Champions League and League Cup, respectively.
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Should there be little signs of improvements in results or performances, Chelsea could take the nuclear option and axe the most popular manager in the club’s history.
Sources have said that anything other than a top-four Premier League finish is unthinkable for owner Roman Abramovich, who regards Champions League football as a minimum requirement every season.
Football Insider revealed on Monday that Chelsea have discussed Mourinho’s position as the first doubts begin 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.
Abramovich was at Stamford Bridge last Saturday and the club’s hierarchy held conversations about Mourinho’s future in the wake of the 3-1 home defeat to Southampton.
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 his status with supporters.
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 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.