John Terry used his programme notes for Chelsea’s home game against Sunderland at the weekend to deny that player power was behind Jose Mourinho’s exit from Stamford Bridge last week.
Mourinho was removed from the manager’s position at Chelsea last Thursday just 7 months after winning the Premier League title with the club for the third time. This season has been a disaster for the self-proclaimed ‘Special One’, though, with the Blues in 16th position in the league when the Portuguese manager was dismissed.
Chelsea only lost 1of Mourinho’s first 99 home games in charge of the club, yet they lost 4 of their opening 7 home matches in this campaign and have so far lost 9 of the 17 games they’ve played.
The dreadful run of results that the defending Premier League champions have endured led to Mourinho’s dismissal, with Guus Hiddink coming in to replace him on an interim basis until the end of the year. Yet rumours have consistently circulated in the national media that it was the players who conspired to oust Mourinho after the controversial manager alienated several members of his playing squad.
Terry, the Chelsea captain, refuted this notion in his programme notes however, saying, “We are aware there have been rumours about player power, but I want to make it clear that is not the case. We leave all the decisions to Mr. Abramovich and the board and know our job, as players, is to focus on getting results on the pitch”.
The 33 year old has had run-ins with his 52 year old former manager himself this season, with Mourinho opting not to start Terry when fit and available for the first time since he arrived at the club in 2004 leading many to question whether there had been a falling out between the two.
Chelsea’s Chairman, Bruce Buck, wrote notes in the programme in the absence of a manager being able to do so and told the club’s fans that the decision to get rid of Mourinho had not been an easy one. He wrote, “The start we have made to the season has come as a major disappointment to the owner, the board and Chelsea fans everywhere and I think it is fair to say nobody expected us to be in the position we are in the Premier League just before Christmas. The difficult decision was made for Jose Mourinho to leave the club. I can assure you it was not a decision we took lightly. Nor was it a spur of the moment decision. Mr. Abramovich and the board agonised over it for some time. We are one of the biggest clubs in the world and we are all determined, as a collective unit, to get back to where we should be”.
Chelsea went on to win the match 3-1 thanks to goals from Ivanovic, Pedro and Oscar, with Hiddink watching the game from the stands. There was a strange atmosphere in the stands as supporters wanted to show their appreciation for their former manager whilst also letting certain players know how they felt about them.
Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, two players the Chelsea fans believe were largely responsible for Mourinho’s departure, were booed before the game. Meanwhile some fans displayed banners saying things such as ‘You Let Jose Down. You Let Us Down’ and ‘The Three Rats – Hazard, Cesc and Costa’.