Chelsea sacks Mourinho, citing ‘player discord’

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Chelsea’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (center) AFP PHOTO

Chelsea’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho (center) AFP PHOTO

LONDON: Jose Mourinho’s tumultuous second spell as Chelsea manager was ended “by mutual consent” on Thursday, with the club’s technical director revealing that squad disharmony was a significant factor.

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Chelsea’s disastrous start to the season prompted owner Roman Abramovich to press the ejector button, with the club saying it was “in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways.”

Nine defeats in 16 games have seen the reigning Premier League champions slither to within a point of the relegation zone and technical director Michael Emenalo said that Chelsea had had no choice but to act.

“Whilst there is huge sentiment for the individual who has done so much for the club, the facts of the matter remain that Chelsea Football Club is in trouble,” he told Chelsea TV.
“The results are not good. There obviously seems to be a palpable discord between manager and players. We feel it was time to act.”

Chelsea said that Mourinho, 52, had left “on good terms”, two years after returning to the club following spells at Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

He was pictured on Sky Sports News being driven out of Chelsea’s training ground in a black car, with his hood pulled down over his face.

The outspoken Portuguese 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.

“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 in a statement.

“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.”

Hiddink ‘perfect’ to revive Chelsea post-Mourinho

Chelsea said that Mourinho “will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at Chelsea” and “will always be warmly welcomed back to Stamford Bridge”.

He was previously sacked by Abramovich in 2007 and his departure on Thursday came just seven months after he led Chelsea to a league and League Cup double.

Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, 69, has been cited as the front-runner to take over on a short-term basis, having previously fulfilled the role in 2009.

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 ex-Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti.

“The club is working vigorously and actively to make sure that the situation with regards to a managerial appointment is taken care of as soon as possible,” Emenalo said.

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 his final interview as Chelsea manager, filmed for BT Sport before his departure was announced, Mourinho said the team’s travails had been a useful experience.

“As a process, this is an amazing learning process,” he said. “This period was important for me. I’m better than I thought.”

In what proved to be his last game, Chelsea 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 from Porto in 2004.

Mourinho lambasted his players afterwards, saying: “I feel like my work was betrayed.” Emenalo’s comments confirmed reports of dissent within the squad.

Guus Hiddink is “absolutely perfect” to step in again as Chelsea’s savior following Jose Mourinho’s sacking, former Blues assistant boss Ray Wilkins said Friday.

The 69-year-old Dutchman has emerged as a leading contender to take over the ailing Premier League champions on an interim basis.

Hiddink played a similar role in 2009, appointed after the dismissal of Luiz Felipe Scolari and steering Chelsea to FA Cup glory.

AFP

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