Mourinho begins Chelsea fightback as he denies revolt

Under fire Portuguese manager says claims players want to lose are 'sad' and grounds for 'legal action' - something he is already facing

Jose Mourinho
(Image credit: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

With Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho plastered over the front and back pages of the newspapers and facing the biggest crisis of his career, the Portuguese insisted he knew how to turn things round when he faced the media ahead of his side's Champions League clash with Dynamo Kiev.

Chelsea, the Premier League champions, have endured their worst start to a season for a generation, and are languishing in 15th place in the league. There have been claims he has lost the dressing room amid reports that some players would rather lose a match than play for him.

To make matters worse, the so-called Special One is also facing legal action from former club doctor Eva Carneiro, who has started proceedings against the Chelsea boss after she left the club in the wake of a touchline spat with Mourinho.

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But Tuesday may have marked the start of the fightback. First there was a public statement from midfielder Cesc Fabregas on Twitter, rubbishing claims that he was the leader of a dressing room revolt against the manager.

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And in his pre-match press conference ahead of the clash with Dynamo Kiev, Mourinho said the alleged remark about preferring to lose than win under his management, which came from the BBC, amounted "a very sad accusation because you are accusing players, or one player, of dishonesty". He said there was grounds for "legal action".

The Chelsea boss also insisted that he knew what had gone wrong this season, but refused to elaborate. When asked how long he expected to remain at Stamford Bridge he replied by saying he expected to see out his contract, which has almost four years to run.

"The Portuguese is remaining defiant amid a flurry of reports suggesting he is on the verge of losing his job, having signed a new deal in the summer," says

Mourinho also pointed to comments he made in 2004, at the start of his elite managerial career, when he said he was braced for a crisis such as this, and noted that his first major crisis had taken 11 years to arrive.

He also showed flashes of his old arrogance, and told reporters: "When you reach my level, it's difficult to learn from others. You have to learn from yourself, with your own experiences, day by day, analysing your work."

Mourinho's key lieutenant and captain John Terry also faced the media and mounted a defence of his boss, describing him as "the best" and insisting: "I can assure you the players are 100 per cent behind the manager. We are together."

However, time is against Mourinho. John Cross writing in the Daily Mirror notes that Chelsea are well past the "trigger point for previous sackings" and says "Mourinho is drinking in the last-chance saloon, acutely aware this new-found patience will not last much longer".

Mourinho given two more games to save Chelsea career

02 November

Time is running out for Jose Mourinho after yet another disastrous weekend for Chelsea, who lost at home to Liverpool and were forced to contend with claims that some players are so disullusioned with the manager that they would rather lose games than win for him.

Before the match it had been reported that Mourinho's job would be in jeopardy if Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool side managed to inflict a third home defeat of the season on the Blues, but despite that very outcome it is reported that the Portuguese has been given a stay of execution, albeit not a very long one.

It is now believed that unless there Chelsea show a marked improvement against Dynamo Kiev and Stoke City this week, Mourinho will be replaced during the international window.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reluctant to fire Mourinho as there are fears his departure could totally fracture a fragile squad and there is no clear replacement in the frame. But the Russian "is not prepared to write off the season", says The Times.

"Abramovich... is standing by Mourinho for now, but is prepared to sack him if he feels that Champions League qualification is slipping away, despite the manager's claims to the contrary," writes Matt Hughes for the paper. "Mourinho expressed confidence last month that he would remain as Chelsea manager even if his side finished mid-table this season. That is not the club's position."

The Times says that despite reports of unrest in the camp "there was no significant fallout from the Liverpool defeat at training yesterday, with Mourinho attempting to lift his players' confidence".

Quite how he does that remains to be seen because the BBC takes a very different line on the question of the squad's unity. Garry Richardson reported at the weekend that Mourinho's relationship with many players was at "rock bottom", and that his relationship with Eden Hazard in particular was under "immense strain".

He is running out of options as well. "Mourinho has changed his players, changed their positions, used the carrot, reverted to the stick and offered the carrot again. But, so far, nothing has worked," reports the Daily Telegraph.

It all means the Special One's prospects are bleak, says The Sun. Although he is "is holding on to his job with his fingernails" the paper believes it is now "unlikely that the club will finish in the top four this season — which is why Mourinho is doomed".

And the coach will not be the only casualty. Hazard and Diego Costa will also leave the club, claims the paper. Hazard "has the look of someone who wants to play elsewhere", while Costa has failed to adjust to life in London.

Mourinho is 'a liability' as Guardiola linked to Chelsea job

26 October

Chelsea suffered their fifth defeat of the season against West Ham on Saturday and the crisis at Stamford Bridge is now so grave that Jose Mourinho could be sacked if the Blues lose at home to Liverpool next week.

The Premier League champions have endured their worst start to a season since 1978 and are languishing 15th in the table, just five points above the relegation zone after ten matches.

But it is not only results that are piling the pressure on Mourinho. According to the Daily Mirror the club is "increasingly concerned about the conduct of the manager", who was sent to the stands after a half-time altercation with referee Jon Moss on Saturday.

Mourinho's latest tantrum came after Cesc Fabregas had a goal ruled out for offside and Nemanja Matic was sent off for two bookable offences in the first half at West Ham.

Last week, the Blues manger was fined and given a suspended stadium ban for criticising the officials after the game against Southampton.

Mourinho received a public endorsement from the club after the Southampton match, but since then Chelsea have won only one of three matches. And The Times reports that Mourinho "could be dismissed if his Chelsea side suffer another acrimonious defeat when they host Liverpool on Saturday".

And there is worse news for the Portuguese in the Daily Telegraph, which claims that Pep Guardiola is being lined up to replace him.

The paper claims that "intermediaries, working without a mandate from [Roman] Abramovich or Chelsea, are trying to put a deal in place to take Guardiola to Stamford Bridge in case the club decide to make a change".

It adds that if Chelsea decide to sack Mourinho before the end of the season, Carlo Ancelotti or Guus Hiddink could be drafted in as interim managers for the rest of the season.

Chelsea hope that Mourinho will find a way to restore the team's fortunes says the Telegraph, but Oliver Kay of the Times suggests that the Portuguese has become "a liability" who is suffering from another bout of "third-season syndrome".

"His team selections are erratic, his messages are conflicting and the atmosphere at the club's training ground has soured to an alarming degree," says Kay.

"Last season everything Mourinho did, including the antagonistic, conspiratorial nonsense, united his team. This season it appears to be having the opposite effect... Right now, Chelsea would probably just welcome a little stability, calm and focus from their increasingly embattled manager."

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