Chelsea technical director, Mike Emenalo, has admitted that a rift between the club’s players and Jose Mourinho contributed to their poor form and the coach’s eventual sacking on Thursday.
Ex-Nigeria defender Emenalo told Chelsea TV that there was a “palpable discord between manager and players and we felt it was time to act.”
He added, while defending the players against insinuations that they were not giving their best (Mourinho severely criticised the players as the team’s form plummeted): “I think people need to remember this is essentially the same group of players that won the league and the League Cup last season. They did it in style and by showing commitment and by sweating blood and tears for the club when needed.
“They played to instruction to everything the manager asked them to do, so I think it’s very easy to make that kind of inference, but it’s not one that the club accepts.”
Emenalo, who featured for the Super Eagles at the 1994 World Cup, claimed Chelsea owner Roman Abramovic was left with no choice.
“The owner is forced to make what was a very tough decision for the good of the club,” he said. “We make no mistake about it, Chelsea Football Club are one of the biggest clubs in the world is one point above relegation in the English Premier League, and that’s not good enough.
“Whilst there is huge sentiment for the individual who has done so much for the club, the fact of the matter is Chelsea Football Club is in trouble. The results are not good, and there obviously seems to be a palpable discord between manager and players and we feel it is time to act.”
Emenalo expressed confidence in the Chelsea’s ability to overcome their current challenges, starting from Saturday’s Premier League clash with Sunderland.
He said: “Obviously we know now the players have a responsibility to go out and prove everybody wrong and show a certain level of commitment to the decision that’s been made to try and get the club up the league table. That’s what they have to do, that’s what they’re supposed to do, that’s what they’ve been trying to do.
“You’re not a big club if you don’t have contingency plans for situations like this and we’re a big club who have quality coaches embedded within the club and I think we will be okay for Saturday.”
“We will have competent people come up and help with preparation for the game on Saturday. Make no mistake about it, the club is working vigorously and actively to make sure that the situation regards to a managerial appointment is taken care of as soon as possible.”