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Monday 5 December 2016

Jose Mourinho feels the pressure as Chelsea demand results

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho with staff after the match

Jose Mourinho was preparing for another week as Chelsea manager with the stakes raised even higher.

Wednesday's Champions League clash with Dynamo Kiev and next Saturday's Premier League game at Stoke have additional significance after Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool inflicted another defeat on Mourinho's beleaguered side, winning 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The 52-year-old Portuguese was subject of the first managerial vote of confidence in Roman Abramovich's 12-year ownership on October 5, in the wake of a home loss to Southampton.

The caveat was that results had to improve, but Chelsea have won only one of their five games since.

Abramovich has wielded the managerial axe with regularity when a place in the Premier League's top four and qualification for the Champions League have been in danger.

Chelsea are 15th after six losses in the opening 11 games - 10 points behind fourth-placed Manchester United - and the question is whether Abramovich will show patience with Mourinho, the most successful manager in the club's history.

It is understood the Chelsea board's position is unchanged since the statement four weeks ago, with Abramovich prepared to give Mourinho time to climb out of the current predicament.

Mourinho told Chelsea TV of the Dynamo contest: "It's a big game. It's a game that we cannot lose."

The Portuguese, who is in his second spell and signed a four-year contract extension until June 2019 on the eve of the season, may not just have been referring to Chelsea's prospects of progressing to the knockout stages, but also to his own position.

Mourinho's problems on the pitch have been compounded by disciplinary issues off it, and his sending off in the defeat to West Ham last weekend is the subject of one of two separate proceedings with the Football Association.

He is expected to hear the result of his appeal against a £50,000 fine and suspended one-match stadium ban for comments made about referee Robert Madley in the aftermath of the Southampton defeat soon.

Former Chelsea midfielder and coach Ray Wilkins dismissed suggestions Mourinho's relationship with some of his players is close to breaking point and expects the Blues to stick with the manager.

"I think they're behind Mourinho - they're just not performing," he told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek.

"That's one of Jose's major assets. He has the ability not to control but to actually talk and get all the players on his side.

"I think Jose will (still) be in the job. Who can take over? There's only Carlo Ancelotti out there at the moment that is out of work and can fill the position. I think they'll continue with Jose."

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