It's over for Mourinho: did the players force him out?

By Kirstin Buick
18 December 2015

It looks as though Chelsea's devastating defeat to Leicester City on Monday was the straw that broke the camel's back.

It looks as though Chelsea's devastating defeat to Leicester City on Monday was the straw that broke the camel's back.

On Thursday, Roman Abramovich and co made the call to sack manager Jose Mourinho.

If you'd told the self-proclaimed Special One in August that he would be without a job in a few short months time, he probably would have laughed his head off.

After all, the Blues were favourites to retain their crown, and Mourinho was waxing lyrical about building a team that would give Chelsea a 10-year dynasty.

And shockingly, just halfway through the season, the team had just 15 points from 16 games. The former champions are just one point above the relegation zone -- and the rest of the season the battle will likely be just to stay in the first division, rather than for champion's league glory.

Mourinho has already suffered three more defeats than in any other season as a manager. As far as Blues bosses were concerned, he had to go.

"This club is in trouble and something needed to be done," technical director Michael Emenalo said, insisting that it was not the player's fault. There was a "palpable discord between manager and players", he said, implying that the blame should be laid squarely on the manager's shoulders.

But for weeks, Mourinho has been insisting that all is not well in Stamford Bridge's camp. After Monday's 2-1 defeat to Leicester , Mourinho said his "work was betrayed" by his players. Weeks before, the Portuguese coach had revealed that "some individuals" had "an unstable attitude".

"And when you have individuals with that unstable attitude in terms of motivation, desire and commitment you will pay."

According to The Telegraph, Mourinho had become "obsessed with the fact an old Porto contact told him that his former club knew of his plans to drop Cesc Fabregas before last week’s vital Champions League match at Stamford Bridge" -- leading him to suspect there was a "rat" in his camp, leaking vital information.

"I've got a couple of bad apples that are causing me a lots of problems," Mourinho was quote as saying. "It is a very difficult situation to handle for me."

Whether this was the case or not, rumours of discord have plagued Chelsea for months. In November, there were whispers of a dressing room revolt at Stamford Bridge, of which Cesc Fabregas was supposedly the leader.

The 28-year-old Spanish player emphatically denied reports. "I would like to clarify that contrary to a few reports from some websites, I am extremely happy at Chelsea and have an excellent relationship with the manager," he said on Twitter.

"There may be certain individuals from the outside trying to destabilise this club but I strongly believe that we will bounce back and come good again."

Still, football veterans and critics say the players' performance of late has been shocking -- perhaps deliberately so.

"If you watched Eden Hazard the other night at Leicester, if that wasn't a guy that showed no guts or stomach for the fight I have never seen one," football journalist Rob Beasley said oflast season's FWA Footballer of the Year and the PFA Players' Player of the Year award winner.

"When you have players like that, you are going to have problems as a manager no matter who you are."

Even legendary veteran Thierry Henry seems to have come out in support of Mourinho."The players should be held accountable. What happened in some of the games is not all down to Mourinho. There was a lack of desire and commitment.

"You can't sack the players, so go for the manager. I am now thinking if I am going into the right profession."

Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton weighed in too, saying that there are "a lot of enormous egos in that dressing room" and some of them have "downed tools".

"It is not acceptable but it is nearly always the manager that carries the can.

"After what Mourinho said about betrayal he knew he had to go. He is not daft. He knew there would be consequences after the words he used."

Sources: BBC.com, The Telegraph

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