LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was sacked to “protect the interests of the club” and owner Roman Abramovich had to act because of a “palpable discord between manager and players”, technical director Michael Emenalo said.
Mourinho was dismissed by the Premier League champions on Thursday after a poor run of the results left the club a point above the relegation zone, and “in trouble”.
“Whilst there is 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,” Emenalo told Chelsea TV.
“The results are not good, there obviously seemed to be a palpable discord between manager and players and we feel it was time to act.”
Former Nigeria international Emenalo, part of the Chelsea management structure since 2007 and head of the club’s international and domestic scouting network, said Russian billionaire Abramovich had made a “tough decision”.
“Make no mistake about it, Chelsea FC is one of the biggest clubs in the world and one point above relegation in the English Premier League is not good enough,” he added.
“Anyone with any affiliation to this club can understand that this club is in trouble and something needed to be done.”
After a 2-1 defeat by Leicester City on Monday, Mourinho accused some of his players of “betraying my work”.
British media reported that the Portuguese had “lost the dressing room” at Stamford Bridge but Emenalo denied that Chelsea players had played any role in getting him sacked.
”The same people need to remember that this is essentially the same group of players who won the league and league cup last season. They did it in style and they did it by showing commitment... by sweating tears and blood for the club.
“They played to instruction. They adhered 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.”
Reporting by Justin Palmer; editing by Toby Davis