LONDON • Under-fire Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has plunged himself into preparations for tomorrow's visit of Dynamo Kiev after he was assured by members of the board that he would be given more time to revive his ailing team.
The latest show of support from the hierarchy is understood to have been accompanied by a message that results must improve quickly.
Saturday's defeat by Liverpool at Stamford Bridge was the London club's sixth of the league campaign - double last season's tally .
They have just one victory in their last eight games in all competitions.
They are in 15th place in the league, 10 points off the top four and four above the teams in the relegation zone.
NOT HOLDING BACK
If anything can be fixed, he is the one to do it... He deserves a chance. The fans are still behind him. The players are definitely behind him.
JOHN OBI MIKEL, on player support for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
While the Portuguese will be permitted to take charge of this week's fixtures against Dynamo and Stoke City, his position will be reviewed during the forthcoming international break if his players are unable to emerge from this slump.
Mourinho received a public vote of confidence from the club after the side were beaten at home by Southampton last month but the pressure is mounting on him.
Roman Abramovich was not present on Saturday to witness the latest setback in Chelsea's increasingly shambolic title defence, meaning that the owner missed the crowd repeatedly giving "The Special One" their backing.
Despite Abramovich's belief in Mourinho, he is not prepared to write off the season, particularly if participation in next year's Champions League is threatened.
The Russian is prepared to sack the Portuguese if he feels that Champions League qualification is slipping away, despite the manager's claims to the contrary.
Mourinho expressed confidence last month that he would remain as manager even if his side finished mid-table this season.
That is not the club's position.
Abramovich previously sacked Luiz Felipe Scolari, Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto di Matteo when Chelsea were much higher in the table because the owner felt they were in danger of failing to compete for the biggest trophies.
Some silverware at the end of the season and a top-four finish remain the minimum expectations.
Mourinho, who signed a new four-year contract in August, led his team to a domestic double last season, adding the League Cup to the league title.
He took training at Cobham on Sunday as he steels himself for the crucial Champions League tie against Dynamo.
The latter are second in Group G and a point clear of Chelsea.
It will not have escaped Mourinho's attention that two former Chelsea managers, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti, have been linked with his job while potential targets such as Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone could be available next summer.
There was some good news for the weekend visit to Stoke, who knocked Chelsea out of the League Cup last Tuesday.
Mourinho's main striker Diego Costa has escaped retrospective punishment following his clash with Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel in the Saturday tie.
John Obi Mikel became the latest player to defend Mourinho, with the Nigerian midfielder insisting that he is the only manager capable of improving Chelsea's fortunes.
He said: "Jose knows this club more than any other manager.
"He's the most successful manager in the club's history.
"Last year, we were champions and we won two trophies so, if anything is wrong, if anything can be fixed, he is the one to do it.
"There's no one out there that is going to come in and fix what's going on.
"If you tell the team that we are not giving 100 per cent, then there is the doubt but we are giving 100 per cent.
"We are playing for the manager, we are right behind him and our performances show that we are right behind him.
"He deserves a chance.
"The fans are still behind him.
"The players are definitely behind him.
"We will turn things around and it's just a matter of time."
THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON