Five months ago Chelsea were crowned Premier League champions in a season in which they were unbeaten for their first 14 league games, losing just three matches all campaign. Now, just 10 games into the defence of their crown, the Blues have already lost five matches and trail leaders Manchester City by 11 points.
If it’s a dire situation for a club of Chelsea’s stature, it’s an unheard of calamity for manager Jose Mourinho, who’s won eight league titles in 13 full seasons as a manager, finishing outside the top two just once in the past 13 years.
Those are the facts, and they explain why Mourinho is teetering on the brink in his second spell at Stamford Bridge, but what exactly will it take for the Portuguese to leave Chelsea Football Club? We outline the possible scenarios…
But can the Portuguese do it on a cold, wet Tuesday night in Stoke?
Mourinho’s crunch week starts tonight, when his side travel the Britannia Stadium to face Mark Hughes’ Potters in the fourth round of the League Cup. Then Chelsea return to league action with a potentially tough match against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on Saturday. Klopp will be looking for his first league win as Reds boss and victory at Stamford Bridge would not only be a timely boost for the much feted German, but could also seal Mourinho’s downfall.
The following Wednesday, Chelsea play Dynamo Kiev in a crucial European tie, where a win will be vital for the Blues’ chances of advancing from Group G. Mess that up and the pressure will surely be intolerable.
Chelsea have a star-studded squad bursting with a variety of personalities. But too many of the players who were so influential in helping Chelsea to the Premier League title last season have gone missing this season, and Mourinho’s attempts to galvanise his squad have so far failed to do so.
Worse than that, Mourinho has risked upsetting the applecart by dropping and publicly lambasting key players.
He has already had high profile incidents this season involving John Terry and Eden Hazard, while there has allegedly been training ground rows involving Diego Costa and other team-mates.
Reports in Tuesday’s newspapers suggest the Chelsea players already believe their manager’s departure is a case of when rather than if, so are they going to play for a manager they believe is on his way out?
If Chelsea are seriously considering parting ways with a man who has provided them with so much success over the last decade, they surely must be confident of securing a top class replacement.
Long-term target Pep Guardiola is again being reported as the man Abramovich wants as his next manager, but he may have to find a short-term suitor to take the reigns for the time being. Bayern Munich boss Guardiola is out of contract at the Allianz Arena at the end of the season and he would be unlikely to leave his post any sooner, should he agree to manage in west London. And even that is far from certain, with Manchester City also keen on the Catalan, and Bayern seemingly intent on keeping him in Munich.
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone is another target mentioned in the media and if the Russian oligarch wants to bring the Argentine on board, he would likely have to line up an interim manager, as he previously did with Guus Hiddink and Rafa Benitez, in 2009 and 2012/13 respectively.
Avram Grant is current boss of Ghana’s national team in case you were wondering, Roman.
With more disciplinary action from the Football Association pending, in addition to his recent suspended stadium ban and fine, Chelsea may have no other choice but to remove the 52-year-old from his position, as he could face further stadium bans and excessive fines.
As well as having an effect on the team, it is more damaging publicity for Chelsea Football Club.
If his outbursts against the FA, match officials or the media gets him into further trouble, do not be surprised if Chelsea decide enough is enough, on top of poor on-field performances.
Up until now, Chelsea fans have by and large remained firm in their support of Mourinho. As you can see below, they are still backing the manager despite the bad results, rifts within the camp, television outbursts and everything else that has happened so far in a whirlwind season at Stamford Bridge.
In 2012 fans held up a banner asking Jose to come home, with Abramovich duly fulfilling the supporters’ wishes. But once fans turn against their own there is rarely a way back for a manager, so if that happens soon, will that spell the end for Mourinho?
The media has been full of speculation about the manager’s uncertain future and some outlets are reporting that Mourinho’s representatives have been in contact with Paris Saint-Germain, former club Inter and Monaco about taking over, and this may be the best option as a ‘mutual decision’, with Chelsea allowing him to leave.
With ink still drying on the new four-year contract that he penned over the summer, sacking their boss could cost over £30million, which may be why Chelsea have held back up to now.
Otherwise, it is unlikely Mourinho will leave for nothing and Chelsea will have to negotiate a hefty sum as part of a severance package and come to a ‘mutual agreement’, rather than a sacking.
The main cause for his departure from the club in 2007 was a fallout with the Chelsea owner and, although that is water under the bridge (no pun intended), that relationship will surely be waning under current circumstances.
Abramovich’s relationship with Mourinho had recently supposedly been better than ever, but the start of the 2015/16 season has seen a number of issues cropping up within the football club, from the Eva Carneiro fallout to dropping captain Terry, on top of the FA’s punishments and just three wins to leave them 15th after 10 games, losing more league games than the entirety of last season.
What do you think it would take for Jose Mourinho to leave Chelsea? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below