Football

Jose Mourinho watched on as Middlesbrough beat Brighton 3-0 at the AMEX Stadium on Saturday.

Steve Holland has no doubts Jose Mourinho will be back with no scars after exit

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Jose Mourinho "needs and wants football" and will be back managing a top club without delay, according to Chelsea coach Steve Holland.

Mourinho's representatives CAA Sport released a statement on Saturday insisting the Portuguese does not need a break after being sacked by Chelsea on Thursday.

First-team coach Holland is expected to stay on at Chelsea under interim boss Guus Hiddink, but tipped "exceptional person" Mourinho to be quickly back managing one of the world's top clubs.

Rafael Benitez continues to fight speculation his Real Madrid tenure is under threat, while Pep Guardiola should leave Bayern Munich in the summer, leaving Mourinho most likely already eyeing up his options.

"He's a guy who needs and wants football," said Holland of Mourinho, after Chelsea saw off Sunderland 3-1 at Stamford Bridge. "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."

Mourinho left his Chelsea post on Thursday, with the Blues confirming Hiddink as interim replacement until the end of the season on Saturday.

Mourinho's agents released a statement on Saturday insisting the 52-year-old - who watched Brighton's Skybet Championship match against Middlesbrough - is not preparing for an extended break from football.

"He will not be taking a sabbatical, he isn't tired, he doesn't need it, he is very positive, and is already looking forward," CAA said in a statement.

"Because of his love of football, you will see Jose at football grounds working and supporting friends. He will not be attending any high-profile games because he wants to discourage any speculation about his future.

"Jose will remain living in London and hopes he and his family will be given the opportunity to do this privately.

"Jose will not speak about his current situation for the foreseeable future. He asks the media to respect this decision."

Mourinho's famed man-management skills were called into question over his handling of Dr Eva Carneiro's acrimonious exit from Chelsea in September.

The two-time Chelsea boss branded Carneiro "naive" for rushing onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard in the dying stages of the 2-2 home draw with Swansea on August 8.

Carneiro's role was later downgraded, before she left the club in September to seek legal recourse.

Top stars like Cesc Fabregas and Hazard were alleged to have deliberately sabotaged Mourinho's tenure through underperformance, though such rumours were denied on numerous occasions.

Mourinho's potency has been questioned in light of Chelsea's descent from defending champions to fighting to avoid the Premier League relegation zone.

Chelsea backroom stalwart Holland defended Mourinho however, insisting the decorated manager still often hides his true self from public exposure.

"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."

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