Defiant Jose Mourinho believes Roman Abramovich will keep him as Chelsea boss even if the club finish outside the top four.
The Special One, who has confirmed he will appeal his FA fine for criticising referees, faces Aston Villa on Saturday with Tim Sherwood also under pressure at Stamford Bridge.
Abramovich sacked Roberto Di Matteo 12 months into the season three years ago after fearing the club would not finish in the Champions League places.
Despite four defeats in his eight games so far, however, Mourinho maintained his job is safe. No Premier League team with eight points from eight games – as Chelsea have – has ever finished in the top four.
Mourinho, however, has had backing from Abramovich and once again held talks with his injury-hit squad ahead of today’s must-win game.
Asked whether he will be in position come what may, he said: “Yes.”
Asked whether he had been given assurances to that effect, he added: “No. I was not told that because we don’t expect to finish mid-table.”
But he added: “It’s different for many reasons. I don’t think it’s different just now, but since the moment I came back in 2013. When I had my first conversation with the owner and the board in 2013.
“In the beginning of the season I said that this championship is so dangerous that, two years ago, Man United were out of the top four.
“Last year Liverpool were out of the top four. And this year somebody will be out of the top four. Somebody can be Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, Man City, Arsenal.
“I’m not speaking about Tottenham, Everton and Swansea, teams that try and have a chance of being in amongst the top four.
“Somebody will be out. Do I think it’s Chelsea? No, I don’t think it’s Chelsea. But I said in pre-season, when everybody had zero points, that there’s a big risk because the competition is very difficult.”
Asked whether he feared he would be sacked after last month’s alarming defeat to Southampton, Mourinho said: “No. I met the owner before dinner so, when I went to dinner, I knew. But even before that, I knew what brought me here. I
“I know the conversation we had two years ago. I knew what made me sign a new contract, and the reasons the owner and board decided to give me a new contract.
“They didn’t have to. I still had two years, so they didn’t have to give me a new contract. So what I know is what I know from them.
“Obviously, after a bad result – which is not the first bad result of the season – I was far from happy. Far from it. But I never felt about it.”
Following the Saints upset, Abramovich sanctioned a rare vote of confidence in Mourinho. The Portuguese added: “Before the statement came out, I was having the feedback from the owner and the board. So the statement was not something new for me. I’d got that support beforehand.
“Why did the statement come out? Maybe to stop the rumour that I could be on my way out because the support to myself was not made by the statement, but by a normal conversation that we’ve had many times.”
Former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who led the club to the Double before being sacked in 2011, has admitted he is ready to come back to the Premier League following a break after leaving Real Madrid last season.
But Mourinho added: “That’s his problem. Maybe he wants to come to West Ham, to Arsenal, to Chelsea, to a club in London, to Watford.
“Maybe he doesn’t want London and goes north. I don’t know. I cannot speak for Carlo.”
Mourinho made it clear that it he who is challenging the £50,000 fine and suspended stadium ban given to him by the FA for claiming referees are afraid to give penalties to Chelsea.
The Portuguese believes the punishment to be unjust after Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger escaped any action whatsoever for calling referee Mike Dean “weak” and “naive” after the game between the two clubs last month.
Mourinho said: “Me, me. Not the club. I want to appeal because I disagree totally, and not just partially, but totally with the decision. But I don’t want to say anything else. I disagree totally.”