Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is confident he retains the support of the club’s owner Roman Abramovich on the eve of the Champions League match against Porto which could determine his future at Stamford Bridge.
At a lively news conference on Tuesday, the under-pressure Mourinho was in defiant but more good-natured mood than of late, insisting that he was an “optimist” and that his struggles this season had made him a better manager and a stronger person.
Mourinho was grilled over whether if he failed to make the Champions League knockout stages — a fate which could befall Chelsea if they do not beat his old side Porto in the Group G finale — he still expected to be manager for Monday’s Premier League match against leaders Leicester City.
“There are no ifs,” he told his questioner calmly. “You are a pessimist – I am an optimist.”
Asked why he was confident of the support of Abramovich, an owner with a penchant for quickly disposing of under-achieving managers, Mourinho said: “Because I think I did lots of good things for this club for the owner to know the quality I have.
“He believed in me twice. One, when he brought me back to the club, and the second time when he gave me a new four-year contract.
“I don’t think the owner is a person to change with the wind. I know this wind is really strong because the results in the Premier League are really bad but I think the owner knows what I give to the club and he believes I am the right man to do the job.”
Mourinho has been surly and on the defensive in recent news conferences during the most difficult period of his garlanded career with champions Chelsea lying 14th in the Premier League.
Yet following the weekend defeat at home by lowly Bournemouth, he was in surprisingly mellow, upbeat mood, even thanking his “friend” Alex Ferguson, the former Manchester United manager, for his “nice words” of support.
Of his recent trials and tribulations, he said: “As a manager, I think it makes me better.
“I never thought I’d be so strong and so highly motivated. Another defeat and the next morning I wake up with more desire to go to work. So it has made me know myself better and I have found myself stronger than I thought.
“When you win all the time and always have happiness with results it is a wonderful life. When you have bad results it is more difficult and I have found myself really strong. So it is good experience.”