Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Roman Risks Making a Fatal Mistake If He Pulls the Trigger on Wounded Manager

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Roman Risks Making a Fatal Mistake If He Pulls the Trigger on Wounded Manager

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson Football Correspondent

STOKE CITY 1 CHELSEA 1 Stoke win 5-4 on penalties ROMAN ABRAMOVICH has had plenty of practice sacking Chelsea managers over the past 12 years and the justification for doing so has always been pretty clear.

Anyone failing to win trophies, get results and/or put the club's qualification for the Champions League at risk, have quickly found a P45 in their hands.

In normal circumstances, Chelsea's predicament under Jose Mourinho would be an open and shut case for the prosecution.

This is the worst run of form under any coach in the Abramovich era. The Capital One Cup defeat to Stoke last night means they have effectively already lost both trophies they won last season.

In many ways, Abramovich has already shown remarkable restraint by his standards as the club lurch from one humiliation to another.

Defeat against Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime could bring the curtain down on Mourinho's second spell at the club and despite the 'Special One' looking anything but this season, there must be a nagging doubt in Abramovich's mind over whether the grass will be greener if he decides to act.

Whatever happens, the 52-yearold is still the best manager the club has ever had as his three Premier League titles demonstrate.

His demeanour may have had a detrimental impact at the training ground but anyone who saw the displays in the recent defeats at West Ham and Stoke couldn't argue they'd stopped trying for him.

As captain John Terry remarked last night: "If we keep playing like that, we will be all right."

Loic Remy also issued a strong statement of support to this paper today, while the near 5,000 travelling fans made their feelings clear by singing Mourinho's name throughout. Granted, his CV shows he is a short-term manager. His longest vigil at one club was his stay of just over three years at Chelsea first time around between 2004-07. …

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