A 'palpable discord' with his Chelsea players led to Jose Mourinho's departure
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea exit boiled down to "palpable discord" with his Stamford Bridge squad, according to Blues board member Michael Emenalo.
Chelsea parted company with Mourinho on Thursday after two days of crisis board meetings, with Guus Hiddink the front-runner to slot in as interim boss.
Blues chiefs insisted Mourinho had left the club "by mutual consent", just seven months after lifting the Premier League title.
And Chelsea's technical director Emenalo insisted club bosses do not accept accusations the Blues' players had any underhand role by trying to undermine Mourinho.
"Whilst there is huge sentiment for the individual who has done so much for the club, the fact of the matter remains that Chelsea Football Club is in trouble," Emenalo told Chelsea TV.
"The results are not good. There obviously seems to be palpable discord between manager and players, and we feel it was time to act.
"The owner is forced to make what was a very tough decision for the good of the club.
"Make no mistake about it, Chelsea Football Club is one of the biggest clubs in the world, is one point above relegation in the English Premier League and that's not good enough.
"Anyone who loves the club, who has any kind of affiliation to the club, can understand that this club is in trouble, and something needed to be done."
Mourinho's departure has centred around nine defeats in 16 league games this term, a shocking descent into the relegation mire.
The messy September exit of Dr Eva Carneiro, now taking action against the club, after being branded "naive" by Mourinho in August, has been viewed externally as causing extra unrest.
Former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas was forced to fend off rumours of dressing room revolts against Mourinho earlier in the season.
Now Emenalo has further backed Chelsea's players, insisting none of the Stamford Bridge squad had any part to play in Mourinho's exit.
The Blues are said to favour Italy manager Antonio Conte as their top choice for a long-term appointment, but his contract runs until after Euro 2016. Bayern Munich's Pep Guardiola - long admired by Abramovich - is also a certain contender. Whether he is interested remains to be seen as the prepares to announce his future plans.
First-team coach Steve Holland could take charge of Saturday's home Premier League clash with Sunderland, to hand the Blues board more time to complete the search for Mourinho's short-term replacement.
Former Holland manager Hiddink took interim charge at Chelsea in 2009 after the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari, and could now reprise his caretaker role in west London.
"This is essentially the same group of players who won the league and the league cup last season," said Emenalo.
"They did it in style, and they did it by showing commitment, and by sweat and blood, tears and blood for the club, when needed.
"They play to instruction, they adhere to everything the manager asked them to do.
"So I think it's very easy to make that inference (that the players helped caused Mourinho's exit) but it's not one that the club accepts.
"Obviously we know now that the players have a responsibility to go out and prove everyone wrong, and show a certain level of commitment to the decision that's been made tonight, to try to get the club up the league table.
"That's what they have to do, that's what they were supposed to do, and I believe that's what they've been trying to do."
Chelsea confirmed Mourinho's departure in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
"Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have today parted company by mutual consent," the London club's statement read.
"All at Chelsea thank Jose for his immense contribution since he returned as manager in the summer of 2013.
"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.
"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.
"The club's focus is now on ensuring our talented squad reaches its potential."
Chelsea cancelled their regular weekly press conference that was scheduled for Friday afternoon in the wake of Mourinho's departure.
Mourinho was pictured leaving Chelsea's Cobham training ground for the last time on Thursday afternoon, with a hoodie pulled down over his head. It was an ignominious exit for the 'Special One' to indicate the depth of Chelsea's troubles.
The final match of Mourinho's second spell as Chelsea boss ultimately proved Monday's 2-1 Premier League loss at surprise table-toppers Leicester.
Mourinho accepted in the wake of that defeat in the East Midlands that Chelsea could not now challenge for a top-four finish to secure Champions League qualification for next season.
Mourinho had said after Monday night's defeat at Leicester that he had been "betrayed" by some of his players.
Mourinho said: "It is a big frustration to accept the goals because my work was betrayed, if that is the right word."