Chelsea's players are still fully behind Jose Mourinho, said goalkeeper Asmir Begovic after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Stoke City plunged the manager's future with the Premier League champions into fresh doubt. The Londoners suffered their seventh league defeat of a torrid season and are now just three points above the relegation zone, a remarkable situation for a team that won the title by an eight-point margin six months ago. Mourinho was banned from watching at Stoke's Britannia Stadium by the FA after making abusive comments to referee Jon Moss at West Ham United last month. According to media reports, the outspoken Portuguese watched Saturday's game at the nearby team hotel.
Former Stoke keeper Begovic said Mourinho's "spirit and presence" was with the side as they produced one of their better performances of the season only to succumb to a fine second-half volley from Marko Arnautovic. Asked if he was concerned about the prospect of a change of manager, Bosnia international Begovic told Sky Sports: "That is out of our control but we are behind the manager, you can see that from our performances. Whether Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich continues to be as supportive of his manager remains to be seen. The club issued a statement after last month's home defeat by Southampton saying that Mourinho still had their "full support". Chelsea fans at the Britannia remained faithful to their ‘Special One', singing his praises repeatedly throughout the game.
About the author
Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University