Monday 26 February 2018

Surely Roman Abramovich will abandon his unfamiliar patience and sack Jose Mourinho?

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks dejected during the defeat to Leicester
Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks dejected during the defeat to Leicester Action Images via Reuters / Carl Recine
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

A high profile candidate looks certain to be added to the list of contenders to take on the top jobs in the game next summer, as Jose Mourinho will be available for hire sooner rather than later.

Every sporting crisis has a breaking point and on a night when Premier League champions Chelsea were left hanging precariously just one point above the relegation zone, Mourinho’s final despairing breath as Chelsea manager was exhaled.

The 2-1 defeat against table topping Leicester was Chelsea’s ninth of this disastrous defence of the title they won just seven months ago and if Mourinho was on the brink of an exit prior to this latest humbling, this will surely be the final act of the drama.

While Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has shown unfamiliar patience as he has waited for the most successful manager he has hired to find a solution to the biggest crisis he has faced in his career, there can surely be nothing left for Mourinho to cling on to.

This was the end of his Chelsea dream, it had to be. To be honest, it probably should be.

Maybe it was fitting that the first manager Mourinho fired was responsible for the probable demise of the super-coach that was hired to replace him back in 2004, with Claudio Ranieri’s sensational story at Leicester continuing to roll as their talismen Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez doing the damage again with two more classy goal to see off their latest illustrious rivals.

The post mortem on Chelsea’s title collapse will rumble on in the next few days and none of us will be surprised if the news drops to confirm Mourinho’s departure before their next match against Sunderland on Saturday, with this latest setback the latest unfathomable entry into their fall from grace.

Eden Hazard’s refusal to continue after he picked up a hip injury in the first half appeared to be a decision made against the wishes of his manager, with Mourinho clearly eager to encourage last season’s PFA Player of the Year to try and run off his problem.

Hazard didn’t fancy that challenge. Maybe he would have tried a little harder for a different manager, we will never know, but this is not longer a team that responds to Mourinho as they once did.

The drive to get back into the game at Leicester was evident with their spirited late surge, but the damage had been done and, in truth, the damage had been done long before Mourinho and Chelsea arrive at Leicester’s rocking King Power Stadium.

This Chelsea slide started on New Year’s Day as they sank to a 5-3 defeat at Tottenham, with their aura chipped away even though they defended the lead they had built up in last season’s Premier League title race. Glory last May covered up the holes in their make-up, as we have seen time and again in recent weeks.

Mourinho’s ugly row with his medical staff on the opening day of the season rocked the club, his clashes with players, petulant press conference outbursts and constant bickering over match officials have inflicted a fatal blow in his Chelsea story.

Try as he might, there is no way back and while many Chelsea fans will be sad to see the departure of their hero, that probability is now an inevitability.

Mourinho will need time to recover if and when Chelsea sack him. It will be the most humbling experience of his decorated career, a shock that is bound to shake his confidence and yet it will not be long before this giant of the modern era of the game will get itchy feet.

At the age of 52, this bullish personality will not want to wait long before he starts his comeback and with his Chelsea story now at an end, could it be that Mourinho emerges at another Premier League club sooner rather than later.

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola may be the manager Manchester United and Manchester City will covet if they look to make a managerial change in 2016, yet his old foe Mourinho now appears to be certain to emerge as a viable contender to take over at either of those mighty clubs.

The word on the football grapevine continues to suggest that Guardiola is more likely to end up at City, with his allies from his days at Barcelona in place at the Etihad Stadium and the sky blue carpet laid out for him long ago.

So ponder this Manchester United supporters for a may not like Mourinho and his reputation has certainly taken a battering in the last few months, but would you swap an ailing Louis van Gaal for a coach who could take your club back to the promised land?

Rumour has it that some of United’s hierarchy didn’t want Mourinho to inherit the keys to power at Old Trafford due to the less desirable aspects of his character, but this chastening experience at Chelsea has clearly injected a welcome dose of humility into his bloodstream.

Mourinho’s press briefings in the last month have shown that this serial winner has learned how to deal with setbacks, how to comprehend failure. That he has failed to get Chelsea out of the hole he has helped to put them in is clearly a blot on his copybook, but let’s not forget what this two-time Champions League winning boss has done before.

The end of Mourinho at Chelsea will not be the final entry in his story and the next chapter is likely to be the most fascinating yet for this compelling fallen giant.

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