As Chelsea, the defending champions, languish in 15th position in the Premier League table and nursing the wounds of a 3-1 thrashing by Liverpool at home on Saturday, coach Jose Mourinho could do with support from any quarter, with rumours swirling that he has lost the dressing room.
Mikel Obi has stepped forward to back his coach, although it could be argued that Mourinho, who substituted Mikel in the second half against Liverpool after a rare start by the Nigerian, would have preferred if the midfielder’s forceful display was on the pitch rather than when talking to the media.
Obi stated that the players were still behind the under pressure coach. “We are right behind the manager. There’s no doubt about it. In training we work very hard. If anyone can turn this around, we definitely think he’s the one. Last year we were champions. We won two trophies. José knows this club more than any other manager. He’s the most successful manager in the club’s history.
“ I definitely think that, if anything is wrong, if anything can be fixed, he is the one. There’s no one out there that is going to come in and fix what’s going on. If you tell the team that we are not giving 100% then there is the doubt, but we are giving 100%, we are playing for the manager, we are right behind him.
“He has come out a few times and said the players are not giving 100% and then you look at the next few games, the players come out and play better. He is doing everything that needs to be done. It’s just that right now things aren’t going well, so everyone [outside] wants him to go. I don’t think it’s the right way to go. I think that inside that dressing room we definitely believe he is the man to change things. He knows this club in and out. He knows what’s wrong and it’s just a matter of time before results start coming. We are playing well, we are working very hard in training. It’s just the results aren’t coming.”
Obi is one of the few Chelsea players left from the last time Mourinho was fired by Chelsea in 2007. He added in support of his coach: “I think he’s technically and tactically better, that’s why he came back and in the second season we won the Premier League again. I know this club demands to win and win and win and win, but it’s just a difficult period we are going through right now. He is the man.
“He deserves a chance. The fans are still behind him. The players are definitely behind him. I think we will turn things around, it’s just a matter of time.”
It remains to be seen whether owner Roman Abramovich would not pull the trigger on Mourinho again because of Obi’s comments. The Russian may just leave those comments aside like Obi’s sideways passes and boot Mourinho into the long grass.