London - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has left the club
"by mutual consent" after a disastrous start to the season, the
Premier League champions announced on Thursday.
"Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have today
parted company by mutual consent," the club said in a statement on their
website, confirming earlier media reports.
"All at Chelsea thank Jose for his immense contribution
since he returned as manager in the summer of 2013."
Mourinho, 52, led Chelsea to a Premier League and League Cup
double last season, but they are currently one point above the relegation zone
after nine defeats in 16 games.
Mourinho is reported to have been informed of his fate in a
meeting with club officials on Thursday afternoon, following two days of talks
at boardroom level.
He was previously sacked by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich
in 2007, after a richly successful three-year spell in which he won two Premier
League titles, two League Cups and the FA Cup.
Also read: Chelsea board considers Mourinho’s future - Report
"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," Chelsea said.
"But both Jose 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 Jose leaves us on good
terms and will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at
"His legacy at Stamford Bridge and in England has long
been guaranteed and he will always be warmly welcomed back to Stamford
Juande Ramos, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Sevilla
manager, and Dutchman Guus Hiddink have been cited as potential short-term
replacements, Hiddink having previously fulfilled the role in 2009.
Pep Guardiola, the Bayern Munich coach, former Chelsea
manager Carlo Ancelotti, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone and Italy coach
Antonio Conte are reported to be possible long-term successors.
"The club's focus is now on ensuring our talented squad
reaches its potential," the Chelsea statement added. "There will be
no further comment until a new appointment is made."
In what proved to be his final Chelsea game, Mourinho's side
were beaten 2-1 at Leicester City on Monday -- a club managed by Claudio
Ranieri, who he replaced at Stamford Bridge when he first arrived in England in
Mourinho was scathing in his assessment of his players'
display afterwards, saying: "I feel like my work was betrayed."
With Chelsea having swept to the title by eight points last
season, their collapse has baffled pundits.
As well as floundering in the league, they were knocked out
of the League Cup on penalties by Stoke City, although they have reached the
Champions League last 16, where they will face Paris Saint-Germain.For
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