Sunderland fail to make most of surreal Chelsea atmosphere as Holland backs Mourinho

Billy Jones despairs at Sunderland's defeat to Chelsea
Billy Jones despairs at Sunderland's defeat to Chelsea
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Has there ever been such an outpouring of support for a manager given the boot?

Jose Mourinho was handed his P45 just 48 hours before the Blues hosted Sunderland at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s problems have been well documented, crowned champions in May, battling to stay out of the relegation zone come December.

But the Chelsea faithful made their feelings in support of Mourinho clear from the off.

Banners unfurled, boos for those players thought to have let the ‘Special One’ down and constant chants of ‘Jose Mourinho’ after every goal past Costel Pantilimon.

Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas took the brunt of the venom.

It was a bizarre and surreal atmosphere on a balmy December day.

And it could have got very nasty, very quickly, had Branislav Ivanovic and then Pedro not helped themselves to goals inside the opening 13 minutes.

Sunderland were all at sea, unable to cope with the fast-flowing movement, pace and creativity from Pedro, Oscar & Co.

If only they’d done that under Mourinho, the home fans were thinking.

Sam Allardyce and the sold-out away following, meanwhile, were left to ponder how their players had let Chelsea off the hook.

There was bound to be a reaction from the home side, with new boss Guus Hiddink watching on alongside Didier Drogba and Roman Abramovich in the owners’ personal box.

But the Black Cats should have made life far more difficult.

As it was, Chelsea coach Steve Holland – taking charge for the afternoon – was left to reflect on an important three points for his side.

“It was a very important three points for the club,” said Holland.

“Our position is very poor, had we lost we would have gone into the bottom three, so it’s a very important win.

“I told them whatever their feelings were regarding the situation they had a responsibility to the football club and its supporters all round the world.”

Hiddink will no doubt guide a revived Chelsea up the table in no time, the squad is too good to be battling relegation.

The possibility of Chelsea being relegated seems a step too far, even in this, the most craziest of Premier League seasons.

And for Mourinho?

Holland expects his former boss to be back managing a top side sooner rather than later.

“He’s a guy who needs and wants football,” said Holland of Mourinho.

“There will be clubs and big clubs who will want him.

“And he’s not in my opinion the sort of guy who’s going to spend six, seven, eight months sitting at home doing nothing in particular.

“I think he’s a guy who wants football, and needs football.

“I don’t know what the circumstances are contractually and all the rest of it.

“My point would be that he’ll want to get going again sooner rather than later, and it wouldn’t surprise me if very big football clubs are interested in him,” added Holland.

The Chelsea backroom stalwart insisted his relationship with Mourinho remains as strong as ever.

“Jose has invited me out for a meal next week and our relationship is excellent,” said Holland.

“I think he would recognise that I gave him everything.

“I would also recognise that not only is he an exceptional coach, he’s an exceptional person.

“But that’s not the guy you see very often. You see the competitor in front of the lens, before and after the football match.

“I’ve been able to get to know him a bit deeper than that, and he’s an exceptional person that it’s been a privilege and a pleasure to work with.”