Chelsea must retain Mourinho: Ex-striker Hughes

London, Oct 27 (IANS) Former Chelsea striker Mark Hughes has claimed that the defending English Premier League (EPL) champions will find it difficult to find a replacement if they sack current manager Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea are 15th on the EPL table having won only three of their 10 matches so far. The faltering title defence has prompted speculation that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich may be thinking of getting rid of Mourinho.

But Hughes — currently the manager at Stoke City — believes that Mourinho’s current woes are only a temporary dip in form and the Portuguese is the best manager Chelsea have had.

“Who would you replace Jose Mourinho with to get an uplift out of your club? It doesn’t ring true for me. He says it himself he’s a top manager, and he’s the best manager Chelsea have ever had, so why would they change?” Hughes was quoted as saying by the Daily Express on Tuesday.

“The clubs that he’s been at have always been top clubs and have probably had very few periods where he’s lost the number of games he has in quick succession,” he added. “This is probably a period which he hasn’t experienced for quite some time.”

Hughes, who played for Chelsea from 1995 to 1998, will take on Mourinho when Stoke play the defending champions at home on November 7. With Stoke lying a spot above Chelsea on the points table, Hughes is hoping that his side can take advantage of the London club’s dip because he expects them to recapture their best form soon.

“It’s a period Jose has the knowledge and understanding of how to address that and to turn that around. I don’t think anyone thinks that he won’t,” he said.

“I don’t anticipate they’ll be in the position they are for too much longer. Normal service will be resumed.”

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