Jose Mourinho will be back in management soon because big clubs want him and because he lives and breathes football, his former Chelsea assistant Steve Holland said on Saturday.
A subdued Holland, propelled into the Stamford Bridge hot-seat by Mourinho’s shock sacking on Thursday, was relieved to guide Chelsea to a 3-1 win over Sunderland in his one game in charge before interim coach Guus Hiddink takes over.
Newspapers have been speculating that teams in France and Spain are keen to sign Mourinho following his midweek departure.
Louis van Gaal’s future at Manchester United is also becoming increasingly uncertain following their latest loss at home to Norwich City on Saturday.
Holland said the Portuguese would find a job “sooner rather than later”.
“Firstly, because there will be big clubs that want him and secondly because I think he’s a guy who needs and wants football and he’s not the sort of guy who’s going to spend eight months at home doing nothing.”
Holland, in his seventh season with the champions, said it had been a privilege to work with Mourinho, who in private was not the prickly individual seen on the pitch and in his post-match comments.
“On a day like Thursday, I felt particularly sad. I still feel the same way inside but it’s my duty to get on and work,” Holland said, adding that Mourinho had invited him out for a meal next week.
Holland said he had told the players, some of whom have been blamed for causing the split with Mourinho, that it was their responsibility to perform well.
“Whatever their feelings were regarding the situation, they had a responsibility to the football club and its supporters all round the world.”
“We have quality players and the players care and they had to show that on the pitch.”
Holland said the players had competed well, especially in the first half, on Saturday when goals from Branislav Ivanovic (5 min), Pedro (13) and Oscar, from the penalty spot (50) underlined their supremacy before Fabio Borini clawed one back for the visitors in the 53rd minute.
If they continued to do that, Holland added, the supporters -- who heckled and booed some players, especially striker Diego Costa on Saturday -- would come round.
“Clearly the supporters have the right to voice their opinion,” he said. Fans also chanted Mourinho’s name and waved banners supporting the Portuguese.
Holland said he had met Hiddink, who watched the game alongside owner Roman Abramovich and former striker Didier Drogba, briefly in the dressing room and said he hoped to work well with the Dutchman.
Neither he nor the club would confirm press reports that Drogba, who had two successful spells as a player at Chelsea, would join the coaching team.