Eden Hazard missing for Chelsea's first game after Jose Mourinho
Published 19/12/2015 | 14:16
Eden Hazard was missing from the Chelsea squad for their first match since Jose Mourinho's departure against Sunderland.
The Belgian playmaker suffered a hip problem during the 2-1 defeat at Leicester which cost Mourinho his job, and although the then Blues manager questioned the severity of the injury, he was absent on Saturday afternoon.
Guus Hiddink was named the Blues' interim manager until the end of the season just over an hour before kick-off, with Mourinho's number two Steve Holland in charge against the Black Cats.
Holland brought in Pedro in place of Hazard while Cesc Fabregas came in for Ramires. Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce recalled striker Jermain Defoe.
Chelsea's fans made their feelings on Mourinho's exit known immediately, when booing the names of both Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa when the home line-up was read out by the stadium announcer ahead of kick-off at Stamford Bridge.
Spain striker Costa's paltry return of four goals in 23 Chelsea appearances proved one of the main shortcomings of Mourinho's failings this term, while Chelsea slipped to nine defeats in 16 matches to sit just outside the Premier League relegation zone.
Fabregas was accused of attempting to undermine Mourinho in several reports earlier this season, but the Spain playmaker quickly refuted the claims.
The former Arsenal midfielder also tweeted his support and thanks for Mourinho after the 52-year-old Portuguese's midweek exit.
Home supporters were also seen holding banners in support of Mourinho, who left the club by "mutual consent" on Thursday afternoon.
Resounding chants of 'Jose Mourinho, Jose Mourinho' rang around Stamford Bridge as the players took to the field ahead of the Sunderland encounter.
The home faithful booed both Fabregas and Costa again before kick-off, as incoming interim boss Guus Hiddink took a seat in the stands - next to Didier Drogba and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Just minutes into the clash the entire ground rose to its feet to chant 'stand up for the Special One', before offering warm applause for their outgoing manager.
Branislav Ivanovic's headed goal cut the Mourinho chants short, but only for a fleeting moment, before the Chelsea fans resumed their vocal support for the most successful manager in the club's history.
When Pedro added Chelsea's second the home fans hardly even celebrated, instead launching into another rendition of 'Jose Mourinho'.
The Blues faithful quickly followed that up with 'where were you when we were s***?' once more pointedly accusing the club's players of a dereliction of duty as Mourinho's tenure spiralled out of control.