José Mourinho’s “palpable discord” with Chelsea players forced the club to abruptly end his second spell as manager on Thursday with the team languishing just above the relegation zone only seven months after winning the Premier League.
“It was a decision taken to protect the interests of the club,” the Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo said. “Whilst there is huge sentiment for the individual who has done so much for the club, the fact of the matter remains that Chelsea Football Club is in trouble.
“The results are not good. There obviously seemed to be a palpable discord between manager and players. And we feel it was time to act. The owner is forced to make what was a very tough decision for the good of the club.
“This is essentially the same group of players who won the league and the League Cup last season. They did in style and they did it by showing commitment and by sweating tears and blood for the club when needed,” Emenalo said in a Chelsea website interview.
“The players have a responsibility to go out and prove everybody wrong and show a certain level of commitment … to try to get the club up the league table.”
Emenalo indicated that one of the “quality coaches embedded” at Chelsea would be in temporary charge for Saturday’s home match against Sunderland, with the club “working vigorously and actively” to appoint Mourinho’s successor.