It was close to midnight by the time Roman Abramovich and his board left Stamford Bridge on Saturday having seen the champions beaten by Southampton.
They collapsed to a fourth league defeat of the season despite taking the lead and Abramovich is very unhappy and deeply concerned by such a dreadful start to this campaign.
During an astonishing post-match interview on Sky Sports, Mourinho seemed to dare the club to fire ‘the best manager Chelsea ever had’, and the Russian owner was soon meeting with his closest aides.
Chelsea are languishing in 16th, engulfed by controversies such as the exit of club doctor Eva Carneiro and the on-field conduct of Diego Costa. Mourinho invited another FA misconduct charge on Saturday by questioning the integrity of the officials.
“Referees are afraid to give us decisions,” claimed the Chelsea manager, as he disputed two penalty calls. He went on to say Saints striker Sadio Mane was ‘always on the floor’.
It is, the 52-year-old Portuguese accepts, the worst spell of his career but he has just signed a four-year deal and is certain the players are still with him.
“Go straight to the players,” said Mourinho.
“If they tell you they don’t trust me, it is the only thing that can make me resign.
“Ask the players. Don’t go with fake sources, the player’s told a friend and the friend’s told the agent and the agent is not happy because I don’t play his player.”
No player was available to speak to the media after the match although an interview with John Terry was published on Sunday on the club website.
Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge ended amid rumours of a row with Terry. Claude Makelele wrote about it in his autobiography but Terry has always rejected the theory and, having been restored to the team against Southampton, offered the boss his public support.
Terry said: “We are looking low on confidence but we have a big group of players and we have the best manager, who we remain behind, and we remain together.
“I have been here a long time and I have seen managers come and go, and if anyone’s going to get us out of this hole it is going to be Jose Mourinho.”
For Chelsea it is the worst start to a top-flight season since 1978-79 when they were relegated, and the most staggering aspect has been the speed with which they have unravelled.
Chelsea are seven points off the top four and it is the fear of missing out on the Champions League which prompts Abramovich to browse for alternatives. — Mailonline