Jose Mourinho: Chelsea board discuss manager's future

By Phil McNultyChief football writer
Jose Mourinho: How it went wrong at Chelsea

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's future at the club is in question following discussions about his position between the Blues' board of directors.

Owner Roman Abramovich led the talks after the champions were beaten 2-1 at Leicester on Monday.

It was their ninth Premier League defeat in 16 games and left them a point above the relegation places.

It is not clear whether Mourinho, 52, will be in charge for Saturday's home game with fellow strugglers Sunderland.

Chelsea have 'no chance' of top four

Mourinho, in his second spell in charge of Chelsea, was given Abramovich's public backing in October, but domestic results have not improved since.

The Russian's instinct has always been to keep backing the man who brought the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge last season and signed a new four-year contract in August.

However, Chelsea's form has collapsed, with the loss at Leicester leaving them 16th in the table with 15 points.

Abramovich and the rest of Chelsea's hierarchy are weighing up how long they can afford to wait for improvement.

The Blues are 20 points behind leaders Leicester and 14 off the Champions League places, with a crucial last-16 tie against Paris St-Germain to come in that competition.

Ex-Chelsea forward Tony Cascarino
"This is a critical period for Chelsea. It's gone from 'we can't win the league', 'we can't qualify for Champions League' to 'we're fighting relegation'. That, for Chelsea, will not be acceptable at the highest level."
Listen to Cascarino's BBC Radio 5 live interview

The other dilemma is whether to deprive Mourinho, a manager with a proven track record of success, the opportunity to turn things around.

The January transfer window will soon open, giving the club the chance to bring in new faces and maybe sell a few old ones.

Mourinho turned on his players after Monday's defeat at the King Power Stadium, claiming they had "betrayed his work".

The Blues conceded goals to Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, and Mourinho insisted he had warned his players about the danger they posed.

In response, midfielder Cesc Fabregas said his team-mates needed to justify their "big wages" and start playing like "big players".

Chelsea's target

He was one of seven players the Blues manager said had been underperforming at the start of the season.

The other problem facing Abramovich and Chelsea is the lack of an available, quality successor.

The unemployed Carlo Ancelotti has already been sacked by the Blues, while other potential targets, such as Bayern Munich's Pep Guardiola and Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone, out of reach at present.

It has led to speculation Chelsea may turn once more to Guus Hiddink on a temporary basis.

The 69-year-old Dutchman had a spell as caretaker boss in 2009, guiding the club to FA Cup success.