A defiant Jose Mourinho insisted he wanted to remain in charge of Chelsea despite yet another Premier League loss on Monday.
The Londoners suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Leicester City for their ninth loss in 16 league games as they were left just a point clear of the relegation zone.
Mourinho, who signed a contract until 2019 earlier this year, is under increasing pressure as he gave up on his team’s top-four chase.
Asked if he was convinced he would be in charge when his side host Sunderland on Saturday, he said: “The only thing I can say is that I want to be. I want to be. Clearly. Point.
“I have no doubts and I think you know me well enough, three years this time plus three years in another time so six years with you, I think you know me well enough that I’m not afraid of a big challenge and at this moment this is a real big challenge.
“I want to stay. I want to stay.
“I hope Mr [Roman] Abramovich and the board want me to stay because I want to stay.”
Chelsea’s huge fall from grace has come as a surprise, a season after they were crowned champions.
Mourinho said he was unsure whether the 2014-15 or 2015-16 teams were the “real Chelsea”.
“Sometimes I find myself thinking that last season I did an amazing job and I brought players to a level that is not their level,” he said.
“And if this is true, if this is true, I brought them to such a level that they couldn’t keep for more than the super motivation to be leader and to be leading and to be almost champion. That is one possibility.
“Another possibility is that this season we started individually and collectively so bad in the Premier League…maybe the sequence of bad results brought the players to a position in the table where they are not scared of the relegation zone, where they feel they don’t belong to the relegation battle, but where they don’t have the motivation of a team that is fighting to be champion or to be top two or to be top four.
“So yes, I think that both possibilities, one of them can be real.”