Chelsea Sacks Mourinho
Jose Mourinho’s tumultuous second spell as Chelsea manager has been ended “by mutual consent” after a disastrous start to the season, the Premier League champions announced on Thursday.
“Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have today parted company by mutual consent,” the club said in a statement on their website, confirming earlier media reports.
“All at Chelsea thank Jose for his immense contribution since he returned as manager in the summer of 2013.”
Chelsea said that Mourinho, 52, had left “on good terms” and that both parties felt it was in the club’s “best interests” for him to depart.
The outspoken Portuguese led Chelsea to a Premier League and League Cup double last season, but they are currently one point above the relegation zone after nine defeats in 16 games.
He is reported to have been informed of his fate in a meeting with club officials on Thursday afternoon, following two days of talks at boardroom level.
Mourinho was previously sacked by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich in 2007, after a richly successful three-year spell in which he won two Premier League titles, two League Cups and the FA Cup.
“His three league titles, FA Cup, Community Shield and three League Cup wins over two spells make him the most successful manager in our 110-year history,” Chelsea said.
“But both Jose and the board agreed results have not been good enough this season and believe it is in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways.
“The club wishes to make clear Jose leaves us on good terms and will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at Chelsea.
“His legacy at Stamford Bridge and in England has long been guaranteed and he will always be warmly welcomed back to Stamford Bridge.”
Juande Ramos, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla manager, and Guus Hiddink have been cited as potential short-term replacements, Dutchman Hiddink having previously fulfilled the role in 2009.
– ‘Betrayed’ –
Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone and Italy coach Antonio Conte are reported to be possible long-term successors, along with longstanding target Pep Guardiola, the Bayern Munich coach, and former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti.
“The club’s focus is now on ensuring our talented squad reaches its potential,” the Chelsea statement added. “There will be no further comment until a new appointment is made.”
Chelsea have cancelled Friday’s scheduled press conference, when Mourinho had been due to address the media ahead of Saturday’s home game with Sunderland.
In what proved to be his final Chelsea game, Mourinho’s side were beaten 2-1 at Leicester City on Monday — a club managed by Claudio Ranieri, who he replaced at Stamford Bridge when he first arrived in England in 2004.
Mourinho was scathing in his assessment of his players’ display afterwards, saying: “I feel like my work was betrayed.”
He also said that Chelsea could no longer achieve the top-four finish necessary to qualify for next season’s Champions League. They currently trail fourth-place Manchester United by 14 points.
With Chelsea having swept to the title by eight points last season, their collapse has baffled pundits.
As well as floundering in the league, they were knocked out of the League Cup on penalties by Stoke City, although they have reached the Champions League last 16, where they will face Paris Saint-Germain.
Things went awry from the off, with Chelsea losing to Arsenal in the Community Shield and then drawing 2-2 at home to Swansea City on the season’s opening day.
That game was overshadowed by Mourinho’s criticism of his medical staff for running on to treat Eden Hazard, which temporarily left his side down to nine men.
Team doctor Eva Carneiro left the club in September and is now seeking a claim for constructive dismissal.
Chelsea went on to lose 3-0 at Manchester City and have also lost to Crystal Palace, Everton, Southampton, West Ham United, Liverpool, Stoke and promoted side Bournemouth.
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