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Defiant Jose Mourinho certain Chelsea won't axe him

By Matt McGeechan

Published 09/12/2015

Follow my lead: Jose Mourinho takes Chelsea training ahead of facing his old side Porto
Follow my lead: Jose Mourinho takes Chelsea training ahead of facing his old side Porto

Embattled Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says he still has the support of owner Roman Abramovich, who does not "change with the wind".

The Portuguese added that the Blues' predicament is not his sole responsibility in issuing a veiled barb at his misfiring strike force, notably Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.

Chelsea play Mourinho's former club Porto tonight looking to put Premier League woes aside by reaching the Champions League knock-out stages.

Mourinho was subject to the first managerial vote of confidence of Abramovich's 12-year ownership on October 5, but fortunes have hardly improved since.

The defending Premier League champions are 14th after eight defeats, including at home to Bournemouth last Saturday.

"This is not a one-man responsibility," said Mourinho, who is under contract until June 2019.

"There are no 'ifs'. Win, or draw, or lose. I am an optimistic guy. There are no 'ifs'.

"I did lots of good things at this club for the owner to know the quality I have. And if the owner shows me that belief twice - once, when he brought me back to the club, the second time when he gave me a new contract - I don't think he is a person to change with the wind.

"I know the wind with the results is an important wind. I know this wind is really strong, because the results in the Premier League are really bad, but I think the owner knows who I am, what I give to the club and the owner believes I am the right person to do the job."

Chelsea's European hopes are still alive, for now, but defeat at leaders Leicester next Monday would be their ninth in 16 games this season and could see them drop into the Premier League relegation zone.

Sir Alex Ferguson reckons the Foxes could win the title. The former Manchester United boss also said Abramovich would be "foolish" to sack Mourinho.

Mourinho, who has captain John Terry and midfielder Ramires available again, added: "It's the difference between friends and fake friends.

"Sir Alex is my friend. He's not the kind of person who says that just because he likes somebody.

"He's always honest in his analysis and I thank him."

Mourinho emphasised his belief that Chelsea's issues lie in "players with performances below acceptable" and in front of goal. He used statistics to say "records" had been broken in three consecutive matches, despite saying such statistics meant "very little" to him as recently as Friday.

Costa has seven goals since January - just four this season - and has been a substitute for the last two games, with Hazard deployed as a 'false nine'. The Belgian is without a goal in his last 25 Chelsea games.

Loic Remy is a peripheral figure and Radamel Falcao is injured, having struggled to make an impact on loan.

"We run and we run and we work more than ever and at certain intensity that we never did before," said Mourinho, who says he is working individually with his strikers. "Our levels of ball possession are much higher than before too. Our chances are higher than ever.

"Our number of goals is lower than ever. You have the numbers, you read the numbers, you get some conclusions. They mean something. It means it's everybody's responsibility."

With Dynamo Kiev expected to beat Maccabi Tel Aviv, Chelsea would finish top with a win, second with a draw and third with a defeat, plunging into the second-tier Europa League.

Mourinho has derided the competition previously but the winners now are awarded a place in the Champions League.

The Blues boss, who appeared to concede defeat in his side's bid for the Premier League top four and with it a place in Europe's elite competition, said: "There is another possibility, to win the Champions League.

"It's harder than winning the Europa League. But we want to play all the big teams."

Belfast Telegraph

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