Chelsea ignore talk surrounding Mourinho exit

January 12, 2007

Chelsea were today making no official comment following reports that Jose Mourinho is to quit the club at the end of the season.

However, they were understood to be giving the stories 'no credence' after suggestions the Portuguese coach had told a friend he would be leaving in the summer.

Mourinho is alleged to have said he will quit in May but it is claimed no such conversation took place.

The Chelsea coach has led the club to two successive Premiership titles and they are currently six points adrift of Manchester United at the top of the league.

Mourinho is battling with a lengthy injury list and claims he cannot bring any new players into the club during the transfer window.

But suggestions he is unhappy at the way chief scout Frank Arnesen has taken on a more important role, including transfers, were also understood to be off the mark.

Mourinho did reveal his frustration at not being able to sign new players after the 1-1 Carling Cup semi-final draw with Wycombe on Wednesday.

He said: 'I have asked for players and it's not my choice that no one is coming. It's not my club, I am just a manager.

'I expect my squad to be the same at the end of the transfer window as it was at the start.'

Fulham boss Chris Coleman claimed it would be 'bonkers' if Jose Mourinho were allowed to leave Chelsea.

And Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said he would be disappointed' if Mourinho did go.

Reports, which Chelsea have strenuously denied, claim Mourinho will quit the champions in the summer, especially after the Portuguese hinted this week that he no longer had control of transfer policy at Stamford Bridge.

Coleman, one of Mourinho's closest friends in English football, believes allowing that to happen would be 'madness.'

'He has been there two-and-a-half years, and this is the first time they have had an indifferent run,' Coleman said.

'Usually they just blitz everyone in their path.

'Normally, the game is over once Chelsea go 1-0 up, but they have to score two or three to win a game at the moment, and that is not like Chelsea.

'They have had a difficult period, but it is the first one in two-and-a-half years, and I can't see the board over at Chelsea making a silly decision like that.'

Coleman continued: 'You will only see how big a loss Jose is after he has gone.

'He has won back-to-back titles, won the Carling Cup, reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

'That is why any successor has to be better. If they do not better that, it is a backward step for Chelsea.'

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson would be sorry if Mourinho did go.

'I would be disappointed in that,' he said. 'I have enjoyed his company in the times we meet after the game and things like that.

'He has a good personality. I enjoy the competition against him.'

Ferguson would be surprised if Mourinho did walk away.

'Why would Jose be telling anyone his plans?' said the Old Trafford supremo.

'I certainly would not be telling anyone my plans. All of a sudden people seem to know what his plans are.

'I take that with a pinch of salt. The important thing is to make sure I am still manager of our club come May.'

Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder added to the calls for Mourinho to stay.

He said: 'I seriously hope he does not leave. He calls himself the `Special One' and without doubt, has great belief in himself.

'But he has brought a serious side and a winning edge to Chelsea. Remember, Chelsea had not won a championship in 50 years and he has won two on the trot.

'There is no doubt about it, he is a brilliant coach and he would be a great loss to the Premiership if he left.

'I hope he does not. I do feel that, suddenly, people have jumped on the bandwagon to try to make it that much more uncomfortable for him when generally speaking, since he has been here, he has had quite a cosy ride because of his team winning so many things.

'When you win, there is no pressure on you.

'But he will, in my opinion, believe he can get the gap closed again and come the end of the season, win the Premiership.

'But I am sure the big one he wants is the Champions League, that is probably the only one that would really, really satisfy Jose Mourinho.

'He has worked hard to get into the position he is in and he is fortunate to have a squad of players lots of other managers would die for.'