Chelsea crisis after defeat in Mourinho's absence
By Ian Chadband
LONDON (Reuters) - Jose Mourinho's future at Chelsea was pushed further under the spotlight on Saturday when the manager, absent through a stadium ban, may have watched in solitary misery as the champions lost yet again at Stoke City.
On a day when Jamie Vardy kept his amazing scoring exploits going for Leicester City to help Claudio Ranieri's side join Manchester City and Arsenal on 25 points at the top of the Premier League, the latest crisis for Mourinho still eclipsed all else.
The Portuguese had said his one-match suspension might force him to watch the match on a street corner on his iPad but, if media reports that he saw it at a nearby hotel are to be believed, Marko Arnautovic's 53rd-minute volley in Stoke's 1-0 home win will have made for wretched viewing.
It meant Mourinho was left surveying the wreckage of his worst-ever season in management, an unprecedented seventh league defeat in 12 matches being sealed by Arnautovic's acrobatic close-range effort.
Mourinho, who received the FA ban for making abusive comments to referee Jon Moss during last month's defeat at West Ham United, will have gone through agonies after Pedro hit the post with a curling shot as Chelsea piled on late pressure.
The defeat dropped Chelsea to fifth from bottom, astonishingly hovering three points above the relegation zone and placing further question marks over the manager's future at the club he led to championship glory just six months ago.
Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who was back at his former club Stoke on Saturday, said Mourinho remained the "right man" for Chelsea.
"We are behind the manager, you can see that from our performances," said Begovic. Continued...