José Mourinho has confirmed that he does not plan to take a sabbatical following his exit from Chelsea this week. The self-proclaimed 'Special One' left his role at Stamford Bridge on 17 December, three days after last season's Premier League champions suffered their ninth defeat in 16 top-flight matches at Leicester, to leave them just one point above the relegation zone.
That remarkably swift fall from grace was accompanied by frequent rumours over a breakdown in the relationship between Mourinho and his players, with the 52-year-old using what transpired to be his final post-match press conference at the King Power Stadium to reveal how he felt his work had been"betrayed" by their poor performances. Speaking after the manager's departure, technical director Michael Emenalo even confirmed that there had been a "palpable discord" evident between the coach and his squad.
With the European managerial merry-go-round set to be in full swing once again next summer as Pep Guardiola reportedly prepares to leave Bayern Munich and doubts persist over the respective futures of a number of high-profile managers including Rafael Benitez and Louis van Gaal, many speculated that Mourinho may choose to take a few months off before plotting his next move.
In a statement released on the Portuguese's behalf by Los Angeles-based agents CAA Sports, it was confirmed that such a break is definitely not on his agenda. It read: "He (Mourinho) will not be taking a sabbatical, he isn't tired, he doesn't need it, he is very positive, and is already looking forward.
"Because of his love of football, you will see José 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. José will remain living in London and hopes he and his family will be given the opportunity to do this privately."
Quit or fired?
Chelsea's official release to confirm Mourinho's exit suggested clearly that the decision had been reached by mutual consent. However, that stance would appear to have been contradicted by this latest statement, which claims that it was the club that wanted him to leave.
"José Mourinho is pleased that he returned to Chelsea Football Club because he was able to give the fans another Premier League title, which they had not won for many years. He is immensely proud of his eight trophies at Chelsea, and thanks the fans for all their support throughout his two spells at the club.
"During his career, José has sometimes chosen to leave a club, but only at Chelsea has the club decided that he should leave. Each time represents for him the end of a cycle, and the opportunity to start a new one. José hopes that his future after Chelsea this time will be as successful as when he left the club in 2007."
Chelsea have yet to appoint a successor to Mourinho, but experienced Dutch coach Guus Hiddink has already confirmed rumours that he is in talks over reprising the caretaker role he successfully undertook back in 2009, following the dismissal of Luiz Felipe Scolari. Former Tottenham manager Juande Ramos has also been linked with the job, while Steve Holland and Eddie Newton are expected to take charge of the team for today's home match against fellow strugglers Sunderland.