Sir Alex Ferguson believes one of the reasons Jose Mourinho has struggled so badly at Chelsea in recent weeks is because of the injury to Thibaut Courtois, who the Manchester United legend has labelled as a “fantastic goalkeeper”.
Ferguson is confident that Mourinho will turn things around at Stamford Bridge - but feels it “may take a few weeks” before the reigning Premier League champions begin to climb back up the table.
Chelsea have endured a disastrous start to the 2015-16 campaign, picking up two wins from their opening eight league fixtures, and subsequently find themselves 10 points behind league-leaders Manchester City.
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"For Jose it's probably the first time he has come up against a situation whereby his team are fifth bottom of the league. Unbelievable. But, great managers find solutions. He will find a solution," Ferguson was quoted as telling ESPN by the Telegraph.
"It may take a few weeks, but you've got to remember he lost his goalkeeper Courtois, who is a fantastic goalkeeper. John Terry is having difficulty adapting to what may be his last season, who knows.
"He played every game last season. The best central defender they've ever had, and he's having a difficult time, so, when the spine of your team is not what it normally is, do you expect to get consistent results? I don't think so.
"But I think, knowing Jose Mourinho, and the one thing I always admired about him and his team – they always play for him. They always try, so the ingredients are correct, he just has to find a solution to get his team back on track – and I think he'll do it."
Mourinho under real pressure
Mourinho is under significant pressure at Chelsea and was even issued with a dreaded vote of confidence - via the club’s official website - at the start of last week.
The revered Portuguese coach insists he will not walk away from Stamford Bridge - why would he when being sacked would earn him a world-record £37.5 million severance package? - but for his own personal pride, and his love of Chelsea, he will be desperate to dig his team out of the hole they currently find themselves in.
Courtois' injury was a blow - but not catastrophic
While it’s true that the injury to Courtois was an untimely blow for Chelsea, Asmir Begovic isn’t a bad replacement. Indeed, the Bosnia and Herzegovina international has performed reasonably well - despite the poor results - in recent weeks.
Getting the big Belgian back will be a major boost for Mourinho, but the goalkeeper’s absence is by no means the only reason why Chelsea have been so terrible over recent weeks.
Chelsea fans: is Thibaut Courtois the world’s best keeper? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!