Jose Mourinho insists he has the full backing of his Chelsea players, despite their season hitting another low with League Cup elimination on Tuesday.
The champions have endured a shockingly poor start to their Premier League defence, with the 2-1 defeat at West Ham United on Saturday meaning they have lost half of their 10 fixtures so far. Such form has placed when well down the table and already some distance of leaders Manchester City, whilst even at this early stage a top-four finish is looking difficult.
Matters were compounded on Tuesday when the Blues travelled to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City in the League Cup. A Loic Remy goal in stoppage time forced the game into extra time, but the hosts advanced to the quarter-finals when Eden Hazard missed his penalty in a shootout, a result which is almost certainly set to increase the pressure on Mourinho.
It has been suggested that the Portuguese coach has lost the backing of his dressing room, with the likes of John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic – so solid throughout last season – hitting poor form in recent weeks. But Mourinho has hit back at these claims, and insists he retains the full support of his players who are just as frustrated as he is.
“You think my players are not with me?” he said. “I think that’s really sad; not to me but to the players. It’s a lack of respect. For me it would be fantastic if the players were not for me because, if we didn’t get results, I could say it was because the players were against me. My players are not like that. I think they have to be very frustrated not getting what they deserve.”
How Chelsea would love a player of the ilk of Frank Lampard back in their midfield. The former England international, who scored a club record 211 goals during his 13 years at Stamford Bridge, is currently plying his trade in the States for New York City. But the 37-year-old remains a keen supporter of the Blues, and he is sure Mourinho will turn things around.
“You don’t expect Chelsea to lose games like they’ve been losing recently,” he said when asked about his former club. “These periods happen, and the thing that matters is coming out of them the other side. With Jose in charge, the squad they’ve got, the talent they’ve got on the pitch and the club that Chelsea is now, I don’t see any way that they won’t turn it around.”