Jose Mourinho is confident he will be retained by Chelsea even if their poor start to the season translates to a mid-table finish in the Premier League.
Chelsea head into the weekend’s clash with Aston Villa sitting 16th in the Premier League, having won just two of their opening eight games.
The champions fell to a comprehensive 3-1 defeat to Southampton last time out before Mourinho lashed out at the Football Association and challenged owner Roman Abramovich to sack him for a second time.
Abramovich instead took the surprise move of publicly backing Mourinho – who claimed to be Chelsea’s greatest ever manager after the Saints loss – and the Portuguese now appears confident in his long-term prospects.
When asked if he would expect to survive overseeing a mediocre mid-table campaign, Mourinho replied: “Yes.”
He elaborated on whether he had received private backing from the club’s hierarchy, adding: “No. I was not told that because we don’t expect to finish mid-table.
“It’s different [this time] 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, Manchester 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. And 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.”