By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes
Chelsea supporters jeered Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas as their team prepared to face Sunderland in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.
The names of the duo were loudly booed when read out by the Chelsea stadium announcer shortly before kick-off.
The two players, along with Eden Hazard who was not in the squad after injuring his hip in the 2-1 defeat at Leicester on Monday, are largely seen by the Chelsea supporters as the men responsible for costing Jose Mourinho his job.
The trio, who have all been well below par this season, were dubbed ‘the three rats’ in one banner. By contrast, Willian, seen as Chelsea’s best player this season, was roundly cheered.
Mourinho was sacked on Thursday afternoon with the Blues just a point above the relegation zone and languishing in 16th place in the table.
Home supporters were universal in their support of the Portugese, with fans holding banners to show their support as well as jumping to their feet within minutes of kick-off as the chant of ‘Stand up for the Special One’ rang around Stamford Bridge.
The post-Mourinho era began with a bang in front of the watching interim manager Guus Hiddink, sat in the stands alongside Roman Abramovich and Didier Drogba, as Branislav Ivanovic headed Chelsea in front against Sunderland.
Pedro added a second shortly after to put the hosts 2-0 up after 13 minutes, to which the home supporters responded with, ‘Where were you when we were s***?’
Fabregas, one of only three players along with John Terry and Cesar Azpilicueta, to publicly thank Mourinho was even moved to answer a comment from BBC pundit Pat Nevin, who had accused him on Friday night of being someone that would “rather lose than win” for Mourinho.
A representative of the Spaniard said that was “not true”.