Jose Mourinho is like a wounded dog being backed into a tight corner at present thanks to an atrocious start to the campaign for his Chelsea side, who must have all but given up on defending their Premier League title.
Chelsea sit 16th in the table after eight games, having lost four, where even by winning on Saturday afternoon, the best position the Blues can hope to attain once Swansea and Stoke have finished tussling on Monday night, will be 12th.
Their price to retain the Premier League has ballooned from one week to the next, where it now stands at 18/1 with Ladbrokes.
Journalists are obviously probing for sound bites from the self-proclaimed Special One, as the Portuguese has never been shy in offering them up in the past and he’s duly delivered again ahead of the Blues’ Premier League clash with Aston Villa.
Mid-table is a hugely un-Chelsea like position to be in, especially under Mourinho, though that didn’t stop the former Real Madrid manager claiming he could survive the axe at Stamford Bridge should his side finish in and around halfway.
Asked if he would still be in charge at the end of the season if Chelsea posted a mid-table finish, Mourinho said: “Yes.” Though he did immediately add: “I was not told that because we don’t expect to finish mid-table.”
Clearly Chelsea fans would be horrified to think that finishing shy of a European place, even for the man that has delivered them three Premier League titles, would be deemed acceptable by owner Roman Abramovich.
It still feels like there is plenty of time for Mourinho to turn this unprecedented period of struggle around with the players at his resources, most of them champions no less, though there is precedent to suggest he is not as untouchable as he might think should he not.
The double was not enough to save Calro Ancelotti’s bacon, while Roberto Di Matteo most famously got the axe despite winning the Champions League that Roman Abramovich had craved since buying the Blues 10 years beforehand.
Meanwhile, despite finishing as a Premier League and Champions League runner-up, Avram Grant had his contract terminated prior to that, so the Russian owner’s patience is questionable to say the least.
Mourinho being Mourinho, will no doubt steer the ship back on course, but things are far from rosy in west London, where the Chelsea boss is third favourite at 6/1 to be the next Premier League manager to leave.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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