It's 'healthy tension' not a rift, says Kenyon

January 21, 2007

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon has claimed there is 'healthy tension' at Stamford Bridge amid continued rumours of a strained relationship between Roman Abramovich and Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea's title hopes suffered a setback with a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool and afterwards Mourinho appeared frustrated by a lack of activity in the transfer market to offset a defensive crisis.

But Kenyon, speaking on Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme, said: 'There is a healthy tension in the club and that is all focused on moving Chelsea forward.

'We have demonstrated that just continuing the way you are going is not going to progress you as a club.

'Within Chelsea it is business as usual. On all the key issues the manager, the owner, the chief executive and the board are involved. That will not change because we believe to be successful we need a team that is together.

'We are lucky to be involved in the best league in the world and with that comes lots of different responsibilities and lots of different pressures.'

Kenyon is confident Mourinho, who stressed last week that he will be happy to see out his contract providing he has `support and respect' from the club's hierarchy, will still be in charge at the start of next season.

The Portuguese coach's contract still has three years to run and Kenyon said: 'There is nothing happening that would suggest he is not going to be in charge.

'We respect the job he has done. We gave him a contract through to 2010 which is significant support.

'We have made it quite clear we wanted him to be the manager to achieve our long-term goals.

'We talked this week and he left my office knowing he is committed to Chelsea and we are committed to him.'

Kenyon also stressed that Mourinho has the last word when it comes to transfer dealings - 'what is the point of imposing a player on the manager? The relationship between the manager and player is critical' - and did not rule out some activity in what remains of the January transfer window.

'We are continuing to see if there is anyone else we can bring in but the January market is a notoriously difficult one.'

Chelsea are hopeful England duo John Terry and Frank Lampard will sign new long-term deals as well as Michael Essien.

Kenyon added: 'We are well down the line with new contracts for John and Frank that will keep them at the club for substantially the rest of their playing careers.

'That is a great position to be in and will be a big boost for everyone.

'We would not normally have these discussions until the end of the season so we are ahead of the game.'