José Mourinho has been sacked by Chelsea, with the club’s former caretaker manager Guus Hiddink lined up to take over for the rest of the season. The Portuguese has paid the price for the team’s dismal Premier League form and he has become the latest casualty of the Roman Abramovich era.
The Chelsea owner has now dismissed eight managers since his takeover in 2003 but he had held off for as long as possible on Mourinho, and not only because he had given him a new four-year contract worth £250,000 a week, or £13m a year, in August.
Abramovich desperately wanted Mourinho to build upon last season’s title triumph butso bad has this season been that he knew he needed to act. Chelsea’s 2-1 loss at Leicester City on Monday night was a ninth defeat in 16 league matches and it left them just one point above the relegation zone.
Abramovich was equally concerned by Mourinho’s post-match comments, in which he said that his work had been “betrayed” by the players at the King Power Stadium. Mourinho said that they had failed to carry out his orders and it was tantamount to him saying that they had stopped listening to him.
Mourinho will now attempt to reach a settlement on his massive contract and attention has turned towards who will succeed him and be charged with the clean-up operation. Hiddink, who worked as the caretaker manager at the club in 2009 after the sacking of Luis Felipe Scolari, is now set to return to Stamford Bridge. Hiddink led the club to the FA Cup, but has not enjoyed much success since in stints with Russia, Anzhi Makhachkala and Holland, who failed to qualify for Euro 2016.
Chelsea, whose next match is at home to Sunderland on Saturday, released a statement a little after 3pm, saying that they wished “to make clear José leaves us on good terms”.
The full statement read: “Chelsea Football Club and José Mourinho have today parted company by mutual consent. All at Chelsea thank José for his immense contribution since he returned as manager in the summer of 2013.
“His three league titles, FA Cup, Community Shield and three League Cup wins over two spells make him the most successful manager in our 110-year history. But both José and the board agreed results have not been good enough this season and believe it is in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways.
“The club wishes to make clear José leaves us on good terms and will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at Chelsea. His legacy at Stamford Bridge and in England has long been guaranteed and he will always be warmly welcomed back to Stamford Bridge.
“The club’s focus is now on ensuring our talented squad reaches its potential.”
This is the end of Mourinho’s second stint in charge of the club – his first spell in charge of Chelsea ended in September of 2007, after he won the Premier League title in 2005 and 2006.