Jose Mourinho has said that he believes his job will be safe even if Chelsea finish in a mid-table position at the the end of this season. The Portuguese manager signed a new four year contract during the summer to extend his second spell in charge of the London club until 2019.
The defending Premier League champions have endured a torrid start to the season, though, winning just three of their first nine games. The have lost four of their matches, with two of those defeats coming at Stamford Bridge – a place that has previously been a fortress during Mourinho’s reign.
Before the victory over Aston Villa the Blues had endured their worst top flight start since 1978-1979, when a win was only worth two points. In spite of their victory over the Midlands team – who have also suffered a poor start to their season – Chelsea are in 12th position in the league table because of Stoke’s win over Swansea on Monday night.
Mourinho, though, is not worried about his place in the managerial hot-seat, even if his team fails to climb out of their mid-table position before the end of the season. Asked whether he would still be in charge next season if Chelsea don’t make the top four he said, “Yes. I was not told that because we don’t expect to finish mid-table”.
The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ was offered support from the Chelsea board recently and he said he wasn’t too bothered by it, claiming the club’s official statement was ‘to close your mouth’, in reference to the media. He continued, “For me the important thing is the owner and the board’s message to myself. Before the statement came out, I was having the feedback from the owner and the board. So the statement was not something new for me. I met the owner before dinner so, when I went to dinner, I knew. But even before that, I knew what brought me here. I know the conversation we had two years ago. I know what made me sign a new contract, and the reasons why the owner and the board decided to give me a new contract. They didn’t have to. I had still two more years, so they didn’t have to give me a new contract. After a bad result – which is not the first bad result of the season, obviously I was not happy, far from it. But I never thought about being sacked”.
Mourinho’s confidence could be slightly misplaced, though, with Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich having not been shy about pulling the trigger on under-performing managers in the past. Claudio Ranieri was sacked in 2004 after the Blues finished second, Mourinho himself was released in 2007 for the same thing, Nvram Grant only took Chelsea to second place in 2008 and was sacked, Luiz Felipe Scolari didn’t even complete the season as Blues boss when he was sacked as things didn’t seem to be going well and his replacement, Guus Hiidink wasn’t asked to stay on when he could only guide the club to third. Carlo Ancelotti was sacked for finishing second in 2011 and Andre Villas-Boas was given his marching orders before the end of the season in 2012, as was Roberto Di Matteo despite the Italian winning the Champion’s League. Rafa Benitez took the club to third and won the Europa League but found that his title of ‘interim manager’ was never extended.
Jose Mourinho may feel that he’ll be safe as manager regardless of Chelsea’s final league position this season, but his own history as well as that of the other Chelsea managers during the Abramovich era tells a somewhat different story.