A source who has inside knowledge of the situation has confirmed to ProSoccerTalk that two of Chelsea’s leading men — Cesc Fabregas and Eden Hazard — were leading the charge for Mourinho to be fired.
[ MORE: Timeline of Mourinho’s ouster ]
The source indicates that Fabregas was the main opponent to Mourinho as the Spanish international had seen himself benched repeatedly in the last few months and he had complained to Chelsea’s hierarchy about Mourinho and his antics.
The source also confirmed that Mourinho has been battling against a locker room revolt for several weeks as the defeats continued to pile up and the Portuguese coach continued to shy away from responsibility. The fact that two of the highest earners at Stamford Bridge were leading calls for Mourinho to be fired would have hit home to Chelsea’s owner Roman Abramovich and the directors.
[ MORE: What, who next for Chelsea? ]
A few hours after Mourinho was fired on Thursday, Chelsea’s technical director Micheal Emenalo stated the following in an interview with Chelsea TV, the club’s in-house television channel.
“While there is a huge sentiment for the individual who has done so much for the club, the fact of the matter remains that Chelsea Football Club is in trouble. The results are not good. There obviously seems to be a palpable discord between manager and players, and we feel it was time to act,” Emenalo said. “The owner was forced to make a very tough decision for the good of the club.”
The instigators of that “palpable discord” are now becoming clearer.
What appears to have been the final straw for Chelsea’s board was Mourinho’s criticism of his team following their 2-1 defeat at Leicester City last Monday.
Speaking to the media afterwards he said he felt “betrayed” by his players for the way in which Leicester scored both of their goals and then somewhat threw Hazard under the bus as the Belgian winger limped off injured in the first half. Hazard, 24, is the reigning PFA Player of the Year but has been a shadow of himself so far this season, failing to score in 24 games in all competitions to open the season and being dropped by Mourinho. The wing wizard was also at the center of the Eva Carneiro situation when he went down injured in the opening game of the season at Swansea City, while in the past Mourinho has both praised him heavily and also criticized the mercurial talent.
As for Fabregas, he had to shake off reports earlier this season that he was at the center of a player revolt against Mourinho and now the former Arsenal and Barcelona playmaker will have plenty more questions to answer as his own poor form on the pitch was certainly a factor in Mourinho’s demise. Last season Fabregas registered 22 assists in all competitions but so far this season he has three. Fabregas, 28, was also one of the first players to send his thanks to Mourinho following his firing on Thursday.
It has also been reported in The Times that on Mourinho’s final day in charge of Chelsea, Fabregas launched into a late tackle on the training ground which caused an all-out brawl between several members of Chelsea’s senior and academy teams.
As the fallout continues to Mourinho’s firing, expect plenty more juicy snippets like this to surface. The story behind the “Special One’s” sacking is becoming clearer by the hour.
[ MORE: What now for Mourinho? ]