Jose Mourinho has been sacked by Chelsea for a second time, just seven months after winning the Premier League. By Lyall Thomas for Skysports
The 52-year-old has been dismissed with Chelsea 16th in the division and one point above the relegation zone following a dismal run of nine defeats in 16 games.
Sky sources understand that Mourinho was called to the training ground at Cobham to a meeting with chairman Bruce Buck and director Eugene Tenenbaum earlier on Thursday afternoon, which lasted no longer than 10 minutes.
And at 2pm his second spell as Chelsea manager was brought to an end after 30 months and 136 games, despite delivering his third and the club’s fourth Premier League title by an eight-point margin in May.
Sky sources understand Chelsea have a replacement lined up who could take charge for this weekend’s clash with Sunderland but Carlo Ancelotti, who led Chelsea to a Premier League and FA Cup double in 2010 before being sacked the following season, is not being considered with Guus Hiddink, another former Blues boss, the favourite to take over on a temporary basis.
Hiddink won the FA Cup with Chelsea in 2009 when he combined the role with the Russia national team job after replacing Luiz Felipe Scolari. He is available after being sacked as Netherlands coach towards the end of their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.
A Chelsea statement read: “Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have today parted company by mutual consent. 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. There will be no further comment until a new appointment is made.”
It is understood that Chelsea’s board met to discuss Mourinho’s future following the Monday Night Football defeat at Leicester – a result proven to have tested owner Roman Abramovich’s patience beyond his limit.
Mourinho had been under increasing pressure as their worst start to a season since 1978 began to form, with defeats to Manchester City and Crystal Palace in August, Everton in September, Southampton, West Ham and Liverpool in October, Stoke in November, and Bournemouth and Leicester over the last two weeks.
Chelsea have qualified for the Champions League last 16, however, in which they play Paris Saint-Germain, and it is understood to have eased some of the pressure on the Portuguese for a time.
But the 2-1 defeat by league-leaders Leicester at the King Power Stadium saw Mourinho accuse his players of a “betrayal” and there have been widespread newspaper reports of a toxic atmosphere in the dressing room.
Mourinho has consistently defended his position throughout their implosion, claiming back in October over the course of a seven-minute monologue live on Sky Sports that the club would have to sack “the best manager they have ever had” to get him to leave Stamford Bridge again.
The majority of the club’s supporters have continued to back him vehemently at home and away matches, despite a string of issues off the field including run-ins with the media, fines and a stadium ban from the Football Association, and legal action from one of his now departed staff – Eva Carneiro.
The opening-day draw at home to Swansea ended with Mourinho lambasting first-team doctor Carneiro in-front of the stadium and the Sky Sports camera after she temporarily brought the team down to nine men to treat the injured Eden Hazard.
The incident led to her demotion from first-team duties and an employer-imposed ban from the touchline, before she eventually left Chelsea several weeks later and began legal action against both the club and the manager.
Further public scathing from Mourinho, this time of referees in which he branded them “weak”, brought about an FA fine and a warning as to his future conduct, but a fierce half-time confrontation with official Jon Moss at Upton Park in October resulted with a stadium ban for the trip to Stoke.
Mourinho subsequently vowed not to speak his mind in public, believing it to be to the detriment of the media, but results did not improve with his silence, and he leaves the club after just four league wins against West Brom, Arsenal, Norwich and Aston Villa, and three draws, this season.