‘Players not to blame for Mourinho’s ouster’

London, Dec 18 (IANS) Jose Mourinho was sacked as the Chelsea coach because of a “palpable discord with the players”, the English football club’s technical director Michael Emenalo has said.

Chelsea parted company with Mourinho by “mutual consent” on Thursday.

His departure comes seven months after he led them to the Premier League title. It was the Portuguese coach’s second spell at the club, taking charge in June 2013. He was previously at the helm from 2004-07.

His exit was marred by reports that he has fallen out with several key players within the team.

“It’s very easy to make that inference but it is not one the club accepts. 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 said to chelseafc.com on Thursday.

“Anyone who loves the club, who has any kind of affiliation to the club, can understand that this club is in trouble, and something needed to be done.”

Chelsea won the Premier League and the League Cup last season, but have lost nine of their 16 league games so far and are 16th on the table, one point above the relegation place.

Mourinho’s final match was Monday’s 1-2 defeat at leaders Leicester City on Monday.

“This is the same group of players who won the league and the League Cup last season, they did it by sweating tears and blood. They played to instruction, they adhered to everything the manager asked them to do. It’s very easy to make that kind of inference (about the players) but it’s not one that club accepts,” Emenalo said.

“We know the players have a responsibility to prove everyone wrong and to show a level of commitment to the decision that’s been made to try to get the club up the table. That’s what they are were supposed to do and I believe that’s what they’ve been trying to do.”

Several high profile names including Pep Guardiola, Brendan Rodgers and Juande Ramos have been touted as possible successors with Dutchman Guus Hiddink emerging as the frontrunner to take over.

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