LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho’s said he expected to be given time to turn around the defending English champions’ dreadful start to the season after a 3-1 home loss to Liverpool on Saturday.
With rumours of emergency news conferences spreading like wildfire, Mourinho remained tight-lipped about his future but asked by a reporter if he expected to be dismissed, the three-times Premier League winning coach said: “No, I don‘t.”
When another reporter asked if he thought Mourinho would be given the chance to fix Chelsea’s alarming slump to just above the relegation zone, the Portuguese coach simply said: “Yes”.
Mourinho is mired in the worst run of his glittering career as a top manager which includes two English league titles in his first stint with Chelsea and a third one last year, when the London side won the league by eight points.
Chelsea fans chanted his name througout Saturday’s game. But they have now suffered six defeats in 11 Premier League games and have conceded 22 goals, a startling slump from the 32 goals they let in last season as a whole.
Mourinho was given public backing by owner Roman Abramovich this month, but since then the team’s form has not improved.
A spokesman for the club denied speculation on social media that Chelsea would hold a special news conference later.
Chelsea looked like they might banish some of the blues when they went ahead in the fourth minute with Brazil midfielder Ramires heading in from a cross by Cesar Azpilicueta.
But the game swung Liverpool’s way with two goals from Philippe Coutinho. Substitute Christian Benteke added the third in the 83rd minute.
Mourinho declined to respond directly to questions about whether Liverpool midfielder Lucas, who had already been booked, should have been shown a second yellow card by referee Mark Clattenburg for tripping Ramires who was bursting forward with the scores level at 1-1.
Mourinho was given a heavy fine and a suspended one-match stadium ban for criticising refereeing decisions earlier in the season and he was banished to the stands in Chelsea’s previous game, a defeat at West Ham.
He did, though, appear to allude to the Lucas incident in a post-match news conference.
“Everything is a consequence of some crucial moments, moments that the stadium saw,” he said. “The players more than see, they felt it and from now what happens is just a consequence.”
In his search for a way to stem Chelsea’s slide, Mourinho made fresh changes to his starting 11, dropping midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic to the bench.
Winger Eden Hazard played in a central role and Brazil’s Oscar returned to the side for the first time in the league in almost a month.
But Liverpool recovered from their shaky start to dominate possession. As Mourinho gambled by bringing on Brazilian Kenedy, Fabregas and Radamel Falcao as attack-minded substitutes, the Reds punished Chelsea with counter-attacks.
Mourinho said his focus was on Chelsea’s Champions League Group G home encounter with Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday, once he had taken the time to digest Saturday’s defeat.
”I will go home and find a sad family,“ he said. ”I will try to watch a little of the rugby (World Cup final) and disconnect a little bit from this and then I will start preparing the training sessions for tomorrow morning and the game Wednesday.
Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Clare Fallon and Martyn Herman