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Under-fire Jose Mourinho's now the 'troubled one' at Chelsea

By Robert Jones

Published 29/10/2015

Not sitting comfortably: Jose Mourinho faces a crunch clash with Liverpool this weekend
Not sitting comfortably: Jose Mourinho faces a crunch clash with Liverpool this weekend

Stamford Bridge may be surrounded by troubled waters but there remains a mood of defiance at Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho's future as Blues boss hangs by a thread - with Ulsterman and former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in the frame to take over on an interim basis - after a turbulent campaign which is drifting from one crisis to the next.

The match against Liverpool on Saturday could be Mourinho's last stand.

Tuesday's Capital One Cup defeat at Stoke City came hot on the heels of shocking Premier League form.

Chelsea have taken just 11 points from their first 10 Premier League games - almost relegation form - and have lost at home to Crystal Palace and Southampton already. Mourinho cannot afford many more reverses like those.

But the former Real Madrid supremo says the players are still fighting for him and Loic Remy insists he wants Mourinho to stay at the Bridge and lead the Blues to a top-four finish.

"It's important for him to stay and we don't want to give up," the forward said of Mourinho. "We were champions together last season and he is a great manager. Of course I don't want him to leave. I think all the players don't want that.

"The spirit is good and we are not affected by the situation. We will just keep training well. I'm sure the opportunity to win games will be here sooner rather than later, but obviously it is better for us if it is sooner."

Chelsea host Liverpool on Saturday as Mourinho comes up against Jurgen Klopp - who replaced Rodgers following the Reds' own indifferent start.

Remy admits the fixture is a big one but the France international has also backed Chelsea to finish in the Champions League spots despite currently languishing down in 15th - nine points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester United.

"I'm really sure that Saturday will be a big game, but we can still be in the top four of the League if we win games," he added.

"It does look and feel like, after losing on penalties, that things aren't going our way. But when you know the quality of the group and the fact we were champions last season, which was not by chance, the quality is still here."

Remy has started just one Premier League game so far this season but is in the frame to line up against Liverpool after Diego Costa was taken to hospital following a rib injury that forced him off after 32 minutes at Stoke.

Meanwhile, Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland has hailed the "incredible shift" put in by his team-mates after the Potters' victory over Chelsea.

Butland superbly saved the crucial penalty from Eden Hazard in the penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes.

Stoke had played the whole of extra-time with 10 men, Phil Bardsley having been sent off in the final moments of normal time just seconds after Chelsea substitute Remy had cancelled out Jonathan Walters' spectacular 52nd-minute opener.

The Staffordshire outfit soaked up plenty of pressure from the visitors - the cup holders - both prior to and after the stoppage-time drama, with Butland making several fine stops before capping his display with the decisive intervention in the shoot-out.

And the 22-year-old England international said: "There are not many better feelings than making a match-winning save.

"I felt it was a great penalty, hit with pace, but I managed to go the right way powerfully and get a hand to it.

"The fact it contributed to what was an incredible performance was even better. The lads put an incredible shift in to allow me to have that moment if you like."

While Chelsea had been eager for a positive result from the contest to boost their ailing season, Stoke also went into it seeking to bounce back from recent disappointment after Saturday's 2-0 loss to Watford had halted their Premier League winning run at three games.

Tuesday's effort made for an impressive reaction, and Butland has stressed the need for the momentum to be carried into the league trip to Newcastle on Saturday.

"Even when we had 11 players on the field, I thought we were brilliant, and that's the sort of performance we have to mirror at the weekend in the game against Newcastle," he concluded.

Belfast Telegraph

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