Chelsea may have sacked Jose Mourinho, but with the club only a point above the Premier League relegation zone, plenty of questions still need answering.
What went wrong?
Life looked rosy in August when the title favourites announced Mourinho had signed a four-year deal on the eve of the new campaign. But a day later the problems started. A home draw with Swansea was a bad start, but the furore that surrounded Mourinho’s treatment of club doctor Eva Carneiro, and her subsequent departure from Stamford Bridge, quickly caused problems. A 3-0 humbling at Manchester City highlighted the fault lines in the Chelsea squad.
What happened to Fortress Stamford Bridge?
In 99 Premier League games as manager at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho had lost just once. In the next seven, he lost four times. Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace recorded a 2-1 home win in Mourinho’s 100th Premier League home match in charge, and Southampton, Liverpool and Bournemouth all followed suit. The Blues’ aura of invincibility at home was shattered.
What was the tipping point?
After the 3-1 loss to Southampton, the club and as such, Roman Abramovich, publicly backed Mourinho and said he would be given time to get things right. Even as the losses piled up, it was expected the club’s most successful manager would be at least given the chance to get to January and bolster his squad. But after the latest defeat against Leicester, Mourinho said he felt “betrayed” by his players. In modern day football when a manager and his players have such a disagreement, it’s the former who pays for it.
Who’s next for Chelsea?
It will likely be a short-term candidate to steer Chelsea to safety before the club regroup in the summer. Reports suggest Guus Hiddink will return in a caretaker role, while former Spurs boss Juande Ramos has also been mentioned as a temporary solution, before the club go all out to get either Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone or, Roman Abramovich’s dream, Pep Guardiola, who is expected to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the campaign.
What next for Jose?
To Abramovich’s probable despair, there already appears to be a scramble between the two Manchester clubs to try and land Guardiola and if one of them are successful, whoever loses may now have a more than adequate consolation prize. Mourinho might relish the prospect of clashing with his nemesis from his time in Spain, though if he wants a guarantee of silverware he may be better off heading off to Paris St Germain, who he has been linked with on plenty of occasions. And there may be an opening at old club Real Madrid soon…