Jose Mourinho
Mourinho's disintegrating relationship with his players left the club no choice but to act Getty Images

Jose Mourinho was sacked as manager of Chelsea because of "palpable discord" between himself and his players, says the club's technical director Michael Emenalo. Mourinho was relieved of his duties at Stamford Bridge on Thursday 17 December, leaving the club only a point above the relegation zone just seven months after leading them to Premier League glory.

While the manager has shown no qualms in naming and shaming his underperforming players this season, he took that to new heights following the 2-1 defeat to Leicester City, accusing his side of betraying his work and effectively admitting that they were no longer following his instructions.

Following Mourinho's departure, Emenalo said via the club's official television channel: "The new contract signifies that what happened today was not a premeditated decision. It was a decision taken to protect the interests of the club. While there is huge sentiment for the individual, who has done so much for the club, the fact remains Chelsea football club is in trouble. The results have not been good.

"There obviously seemed to be a palpable discord between manager and players and we feel it was time to act. The owner is forced to make what was a very tough decision for the good of the club. We are one point above relegation and that's not good enough. Any fan can understand this club is in trouble and something needed to be done."

Emanalo curiously refused to use Mourinho's name in the video interview and appeared to lay the blame for the club's terrible season at the feet of the manager.

"This is the same group of players who won the league and the League Cup last season, they did it by sweating tears and blood. They played to instruction, they adhered to everything the manager asked them to do. It's very easy to make that kind of inference [about the players] but it's not one that the club accepts.

"We know the players have a responsibility to prove everyone wrong and to show a level of commitment to the decision that's been made to try to get the club up the table. That's what they are were supposed to do and I believe that's what they've been trying to do."

Dutch football manager Guus Hiddink, who took temporary charge of the club for four months during the 2008-09 season, is expected to be named as the new man in charge at Stamford Bridge.