For the first time since arriving onto the Chelsea scene in 2007, Sam Wallace of the Telegraph claims at the start of his exclusive interview, Technical Director Michael Emenalo speaks in public. This is not quite correct, as the Chelsea official website had a fairly extensive interview with the mysterious man in charge of our transfers, loans, and who knows what else back in 2013, at the start of the Second Mourinho Era [Part 1, Part 2]. He also publicly defended our loan policy earlier this season, following critical comments from PFA chief Gordon Taylor.
Regardless, Wallace's interview is certainly worth paying attention to. Emenalo hasn't always commanded near-universal respect, but nowadays, he's a key company man at one of the biggest clubs in the world. He rarely speaks in public, and his words at this crucial hour could very well be seen as Abramovich's words and will as well. Alongside Marina "The Most Powerful Woman in Football" Granovskaia and Chairman Bruce Buck, Emenalo is easily one of the most influential and powerful people at the club, advising, serving, and carrying out the owner's demands.
It is of course Mourinho who dominates the topic of conversation.
"Right now, the statement from the owner and from the board comes from a belief that we are in a position to trust a manager who has delivered so much. We are in a position to trust a group of players who have delivered in the last couple of seasons. We are in a position to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel and therein lies our confidence ... that we can get out of the situation."
At a club where the owner's decisions are final -- Emenalo emphasizes this often -- that Mourinho is still in charge despite Abramovich's famously itchy finger on the trapdoor is not coincidence. According to Emenalo, Abramovich cares as much, if not more given the billions invested, about the club as other fans. He's not walking away; he hasn't stopped caring. The last thing he wants is to destroy everything we've built in the past decade (and are about to build on the site of Stamford Bridge).
"One thing that I knew from the very first day I joined the club is that this is not a toy for him. Nobody has a £1 billion toy. It doesn't matter how wealthy you are."
"He is deeply, deeply passionate about football and about English football and this club. It means everything to him and that is why he makes the investment and wherever he is, he finds a way to watch matches. He cares deeply, so when things aren't going well it affects him in the same way it affects a fan."
"Right now what is he thinking? He is feeling like the rest of us who are fans. More so. He is feeling that his precious club that he supports is not doing well. I think he goes through the varied emotions of ‘how can I help?' and ‘what is going wrong?' He is definitely looking forward to the club getting into a winning groove again. More importantly he wants to make sure that we don't lose what we have achieved in the last 10 years, which has earned the respect of the football fraternity."
The trust placed in Mourinho remains, and that extends to giving him more support in his frequent skirmishes with the FA and other administrative powers. There is a sense that even if Jose has stepped over the line, that is partly on the club who have left him (allowed him?) to fight his perceived injustices by himself. What I'm picturing here is that we'll hire an anger translator for Mourinho.
"As one of the big football clubs in the world, we understand that we have a responsibility to greater society and the football world. To represent ourselves with a certain responsibility and he [Abramovich] takes that very, very seriously. He demands that we must behave in a way that justifies our elevated status. That is important to him, I can assure you that from having a knowledge of his feelings. We definitely make an effort as well as any club to make sure the club is represented very well. That is what he wants."
"It can be unwanted attention but it is also couched in circumstances that are unfair to Jose. We have to be capable and honest enough to say that Jose has had unfair responsibility in dealing with some of the things we perceive to be injustice.
"Maybe we have to find a better way to help him, to work with him, a better way within the hierarchy, myself, the chairman [Bruce Buck] in presenting our case, when we feel that something hasn't gone the way we expect it to. Because Jose is the one who goes out to meet the press immediately after games, which can be difficult - not just for Jose but any manager in the Premier League [who has] to go out and always be reasonable. We recognise that and we have to find a way to help him out in those situations."
"We all know that football is an emotion-inducing sport and business and ... every once in a while passions spill over. But again we understand the manager has shouldered an unfair responsibility in dealing with it. Rather than focus on whether he has done wrong, or not done wrong, we have a recognition that we have to make a contribution and help him."
One thing seems to be certain (at the moment, in any case), Mourinho isn't going anywhere (at the moment, in any case).
"Apart from Guus Hiddink, when it was very clear it was just to do a firefighting job, we have always gone in with the intention that the manager has a chance to stay as long as is possible. But this is life - and this is life in football - and it is very, very difficult to predict."
"Every team, in every sport, that is not winning always reveals that air of vulnerability which people on the outside perceive to be that something is wrong. Everyone seems vulnerable. Everyone seems to need the next motivation hit to get things going again. I don't know what losing the dressing room means, I really don't. As a player myself I have never gone into a game thinking, ‘It is never going to happen for this manager'."
"What I do perceive is the players are taking responsibility and just like myself - the head of communications, the chairman, the owner - everybody is asking themselves the same question, ‘What can I do?' ‘How can I help?' The players are no different. The manager definitely is no different."
Emenalo goes on to confirm our interest in John Stones (and Wayne Rooney from a couple years ago), sidesteps the question about Dr. Carneiro, and laments the fact that in football, sometimes two plus two does not equal four. In any case, you should give them a click and read the rest.