LONDON • Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has rejected suggestions that there is a player revolt against him and dismissed reports that one player would rather lose than play for him as "dishonest".
The English football club's midfielder Cesc Fabregas earlier denied reports that he had fallen out with Mourinho and was behind plans to unseat the manager.
"It's a very sad accusation because you are accusing players, or one player, of dishonesty," Mourinho told reporters yesterday, on the eve of Chelsea's Champions League Group G match against Dynamo Kiev at Stamford Bridge.
"If I accuse you of being a dishonest journalist, I think you would be very upset and probably you would take legal action. It is a question for the players, not for me."
The Portuguese tactician said he had a "fantastic personal and professional relationship" with his players, who were united in their efforts to improve results.
NO ONE COMES CLOSE
(Mourinho) will be in charge at Chelsea for the rest of the season and long after I have finished because he is the best man to take the club forward.
JOHN TERRY, Chelsea defender
NOT BOSS' FAULT
(Mourinho) is under pressure because of the way we are performing. Collectively, we know we need to be better for him. It is unfair he takes the criticism. We are prepared to fight and we are going to turn this round.
NO RUNNING AWAY
Back then, I said that one day in my career bad results will come and I will face the bad results with the same honesty and dignity that I am facing now. May 2004, I said that. So 11 years later, I resisted well to the nature of my job, to the nature of football. It took time but this is the moment I am stable and strong to face it.
JOSE MOURINHO referenced a news conference he gave after leading Porto to Champions League success in May 2004, saying he foresaw the day when he would be under such pressure
The Premier League champions are 15th in the table with three wins from their opening 11 matches.
Mourinho said he knew why their form had been so bad but would not elaborate.
"It's a combination of factors and some of them I don't want to touch them but, yes, I know," he said.
"Everything is football-related.
"We don't want to blame social or political problems in some corner of the globe."
Fabregas denied suggestions of a rift with Mourinho, accusing "certain individuals from outside" of trying to destabilise the club and refuting reports that he is leading a dressing-room revolt.
"I would like to clarify that contrary to a few reports from some online websites, I am extremely happy at Chelsea and have an excellent relationship with the manager," Fabregas wrote on Twitter.
"There maybe certain individuals from the outside trying to destabilise this club but I strongly believe that we will bounce back and come good again."
Chelsea, third behind Dynamo and leaders Porto in Champions League Group G with four points from three games, play Dynamo today in a match which Mourinho admits the London club have no margin for error.
Another setback against the Ukrainian champions would put Chelsea in severe danger of crashing out before the knockout stages and further increase the belief that Mourinho will be axed in the coming days.
Acknowledging the significance of the occasion, Mourinho, who received further bad news on Monday when he was handed a one-game stadium ban for this weekend's trip to Stoke City and a £40,000 (S$86,600) fine by the Football Association for abusing referee Jon Moss two weeks ago, said: "It's a big game. It's a game that we cannot lose. We still can finish first, second or third and, obviously, we want to finish in the top two."
On Monday, he also discovered that he will be the subject of individual legal action from former Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro.
She was removed from first-team duties after the manager criticised her for treating the injured Eden Hazard late in a league game against Swansea.
The 0-0 draw in Kiev in Chelsea's last European fixture suggests the Ukrainian side will not necessarily provide the kind of tame opposition Mourinho could do with , especially with the Blues no longer such an imposing force at home.
Chelsea's woes have erased the fear factor for visiting teams, with three Premier League clubs having taken maximum points on their visits to the Bridge already this season.
Restoring Chelsea's sense of invincibility on home turf is one of the most important tasks facing Mourinho. But he has cut an increasingly forlorn figure on the touchline during the club's run of one win from their last eight games.
REUTERS, THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
CHELSEA V DYNAMO KIEV
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