Jose Mourinho pleaded with Roman Abramovich for help before dismissal
Jose Mourinho believed that a face-to-face pep talk from Roman Abramovich would help drag his Chelsea first team squad out of their slump in the weeks leading up to his dismissal, and requested that the Russian deliver one, The Telegraph can reveal.
But the club’s owner only did so after the sacking of Mourinho, addressing the players after training at Cobham on Friday when he told them that it was their responsibility to turn around the season, starting with Sunderland who they beat 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to climb to 15th place.
There was anger from supporters at Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, who were booed, as well as the absent Eden Hazard, for what some fans believed was a lack of effort under Mourinho. Costa and Fabregas were booed by sections of the crowd and one banner claimed that those three were “rats”.
The Telegraph has learnt fresh details of Mourinho’s dismissal on Thursday, including that the news was delivered to the Portuguese in his office at the Cobham training ground by Abramovich’s aide Eugene Tenenbaum.
Mourinho has had no contact with Abramovich either in person or otherwise since a board meeting on Wednesday. Previously he had asked that the club’s owner come to Cobham to speak to the players in the hope that it would have an affect on their performances by reminding them of their responsibilities.
After his sacking, Mourinho returned to Cobham at 10.30am on Friday to collect his personal possessions from his office and was not spoken to in person by any of the key figures at the club, including Abramovich and technical director Michael Emenalo.
Sources close to Mourinho said that he has had no contact from those two or others, including director Marina Granovskaia, chairman Bruce Buck and club secretary David Barnard. In his programme notes for Saturday’s match, Buck paid tribute to Mourinho and said that Abramovich and the board had “anguished” over the decision to sack him. Chelsea confirmed that Guus Hiddink would take over the club until the end of the season.
The Dutch coach watched the game in Abramovich’s private box alongside the Russian and former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba. The club say there are no current plans for Drogba, still contracted to Montreal Impact in the MLS, to make a return as a coach.
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Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, one of the leading contenders to be appointed Chelsea manager on a full-time basis, refused to rule himself out of the race on Saturday.
Jose Mourinho insists 'I will not be taking a sabbatical' as he reveals he will remain in England
“No comment,” said the Argentine when asked about Chelsea’s interest.
Meanwhile Mourinho issued a statement through the agency CAA, saying that he would not be taking a “sabbatical”. A spokesman for Mourinho said: “He isn’t tired … he is very positive, and is already looking forward.”
Mourinho has agreed his compensation with Chelsea and signalled his readiness to work again.
Mourinho has been offered the chance to take over from Rudi Garcia at Roma by president James Pallotta but is not interested. Mourinho attended Brighton’s home game against Middlesbrough, managed by his friend and former Real Madrid assistant, Aitor Karanka, whose side won 3-0. The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that on Wednesday Mourinho attended a board meeting with Abramovich, Granovskaia and Tenenbaum all present. He was asked then what he would do in their position. Mourinho responded by saying that he would not presume to be able to run a football club from top to bottom but there were others at Chelsea who should also be asked questions of.
The following day he took training, ate Christmas lunch with his players, and returned to his office to find Tenenbaum waiting for him. The Chelsea director, and long-term aide to Abramovich, said that the board had decided to sack the manager.
After leaving that afternoon, Mourinho spoke to his players by phone. When he returned at 10.30am the following day they were already training. He cleared his office of personal items and left all his initialled training kit in the corridor outside his door. He then shook the hand or hugged all members of staff at Cobham, some of whom were in tears, but left without seeing any of the club hierarchy. During that morning Abramovich did address the players.
Mourinho will return to Portugal in the next few days to see his father Jose Mourinho Felix, who has been seriously ill.
Steve Holland, in temporary charge of Chelsea, paid tribute to Mourinho as an “exceptional person”. On the booing of Chelsea players, Holland said: “If the players play and compete as they did today, I don’t see any reason why the supporters wouldn’t be happy with that.”