Mourinho is still right man for job, says Abramovich
Roman Abramovich and the Chelsea board have come out in full support of Jose Mourinho, but the manager has not escaped a Football Association charge of misconduct.
The statement on behalf of Chelsea's owner and the board could be interpreted as a 'dreaded' vote of confidence, but is more significant because it is the first time that the club have publicly backed a manager.
Traditionally, Abramovich and Chelsea have stayed silent over the future of their managers, particularly when things are going badly, so Mourinho will view the statement as real and unique backing.
Mourinho, who signed a four-year contract in August, said that Abramovich would have to sack him to make a change after the defeat against Southampton that left the champions 16th in the Premier League table. The Portuguese also claimed that this was the time for Chelsea to prove they had moved on from the days of quickly sacking managers after bad results - and it appears that Abramovich agrees.
A statement Chelsea read: "The club wants to make it clear that Jose continues to have our full support.
"As Jose has said himself, results have not been good enough and the team's performances must improve. However, we believe that we have the right manager to turn this season around and that he has the squad with which to do it."
Mourinho, however, has not got off the hook with the authorities and is now expected to be fined. He claimed that referees were "afraid" to give Chelsea penalties after the Southampton defeat in which the striker Radamel Falcao was booked for diving in the box.
Abramovich is clearly dismayed by Chelsea's worst start to a season in 37 years, but he wants to give Mourinho the chance to turn around fortunes.
That is unlikely to include ripping up Chelsea's recent one-in, one-out transfer policy and attempting a big January overhaul. It is expected that Mourinho will have overseen a big improvement ahead of the next transfer window and whoever is in charge will have to largely work with the existing squad.
Mourinho will give Ruben Loftus-Cheek an extended run of Premier League games in a move that should help to satisfy Abramovich. Mourinho promised last week that he would start to play Chelsea's kids if his team could no longer win trophies, but the latest defeat by Southampton has accelerated the manager's thinking. Abramovich is also keen to see Chelsea bring some of their own talent into the first team. (© Daily Telegraph, London)