By William Schomberg
LONDON (Reuters) – Under-fire Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho said he was amazed by a mass show of loyalty towards him from supporters as the struggling London side fought their way to victory over Dynamo Kiev in a Champions League Group G match on Wednesday.
The 40,000 home fans at Stamford Bridge gave Mourinho a standing ovation in the final minutes of the 2-1 win over the Ukrainian champions having chanted their support throughout the match for the man they still revere as the “Special One”.
Mourinho, who has led Chelsea to three English titles but whose future has been the subject of intense speculation for weeks after a string of defeats, said he was more moved than he was by the welcome he received when he started his second stint at the club in 2013.
“Today it comes in a moment where the results are not good, it comes in a moment where you are asking for my end,” the Portuguese coach told reporters.
“This is quite unbelievable what they tried to say today. They tried to say we want you here and they probably want to say to all of you ‘let him work’ and it’s a fantastic feeling.”
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich gave Mourinho his public backing a month ago, after a home defeat to Southampton in the Premier League.
Results, however, have not improved and the win over Dynamo — sealed by a powerful, late free kick from Brazil midfielder Willian — was Chelsea’s first in five games.
The occasionally nervy performance is unlikely to silence the critics and another test awaits Mourinho on Saturday when Chelsea return to Stoke City, who knocked them out of the League Cup last week.
Having won the Premier League last season at a canter, Chelsea are currently 15th, just four points above the relegation zone.
Mourinho, however, said he took comfort from the way Chelsea recovered from conceding a late equaliser to Dynamo and went on to win Wednesday’s match, showing more belief than in many other games this season.
“In other matches we had good periods, we played well, but when the negative moment arrived, the team feel it too much and it was difficult to emerge again in the game and take control of the game,” he said. “Today that was better.”
(Editing by Toby Davis)