Belfast Telegraph

Anxious Chelsea give up on Jose Mourinho

By Mark Ogden

Jose Mourinho is preparing for Chelsea's league match against Sunderland on Saturday still uncertain as to whether he will remain in charge for the fixture.

The Chelsea manager, who signed a four-year contract in August, is facing the prospect of the sack after seeing his team slump to an 11th defeat the season against Leicester City on Monday night.

Concerns are growing at the club over Mourinho's failure to arrest the slump with the champions going into Saturday's game one point above the relegation zone.

But he has so far held on to his job due in part to Roman Abramovich's determination to banish his reputation as an impatient owner and also a realisation among the Chelsea hierarchy of a lack of credible and available candidates to replace Mourinho.

Antonio Conte, under contract as Italy manager until the end of Euro 2016, is the leading name to succeed Mourinho next summer, but with Carlo Ancelotti refusing to consider a return to work until the end of the season, Chelsea may turn to former Liverpool boss and Carnlough native Brendan Rodgers as an interim manager should they dismiss Mourinho.

Mourinho said: "You know me well enough that I'm not afraid of a big challenge. It is a real big challenge and I want to stay. I hope Mr Abramovich and the board want me to stay.

"I would like the board to analyse the situation, the budget, the balance of the club and what they were expecting."

Mourinho insists he won't seek money to add to his squad in January should he avoid the sack.

"It is not right I say, 'this player is not good and we need to spend £50m'.

"We have these players and it is with these players that we have to go."

Belfast Telegraph


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