Guus Hiddink is poised for a second caretaker spell in charge of Chelsea, who announced the departure of Jose Mourinho on Thursday afternoon.
The Blues won the Premier League with relative ease last season, but their fall from grace this term has been nothing short of remarkable. A 2-1 loss at Leicester City on Monday night was their ninth reverse from 16 matches so far, and leaves them a considerable 20 points behind the Foxes who lead the standings, and just a single point above the relegation zone.
Speculation over the future of Mourinho had been rife for the past few weeks; indeed, many believe his problems started earlier this season when he clashed with club physio Eva Carneiro, and escalated recently with suggestions he had ‘lost the dressing room.’ It is true a number of players have been poor this season, and he said following the latest loss that he felt betrayed.
Chelsea, who handed Mourinho a new four-year contract just four months ago, confirmed on Thursday that they had parted company with the 52-year-old by mutual consent: “…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 Chelsea.”
Mourinho delivered two league titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups during his first spell at Stamford Bridge, which ended when he was controversially sacked in September 2007. He returned via Internazionale and Real Madrid in the summer of 2013, and last season added a third league title and another League Cup, making him the club’s most successful ever manager.
According to Sam Wallace in The Independent, the Blues will now appoint Hiddink for a second interim spell. The Dutchman stepped in when Luis Scolari was sacked in 2009, and he was begged to stay by the supporters after a successful stint which ended in FA Cup glory. The 69-year-old was dismissed by the Holland national side in June 2015, and is now expected to return to Stamford Bridge for the remainder of the season whilst an approach for Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola is made.