EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea give Jose Mourinho stay of execution following board talks
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Chelsea will not sack Jose Mourinho during the international break, Football Insider sources understand.
Roman Abramovich has pledged to stick with the under-fire Portugese following fresh discussions with Mourinho and the club’s board.
Mourinho’s job has been left hanging by a thread after a catastrophic start to the season that has left Chelsea rooted in 16th in the Premier League table.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Stoke was the champions’ seventh league defeat of the season and their third in a row following reverses at the hands of Liverpool and West Ham.
Mourinho’s position has been discussed by the Chelsea hierarchy in the wake of the Stoke defeat but they will stick by the Portugese for now.
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 has already been sacked by the Russian.
Sources have told Football Insider that Abramovich and Mourinho have spoken to discuss the factors behind the team’s wretched form and the manager has expressed his dissatisfaction with the players at his disposal.
There is now likely to be a major overhaul of the squad next year, firstly in the January transfer window and then again next summer.
The Londoners released a statement last month 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 a win and a goal-less draw against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League followed by Premier League defeats to West Ham, Liverpool and Stoke, and a League Cup elimination at the hands of Stoke.
Sources have said that Abramovich will not fire Mourinho before their next fixture but the manager’s destiny is likely to be shaped by a glut of fixtures after the international break.
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.