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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 18:28 GMT 19:28 UK
Kenyon rules out Chelsea exodus
Florent Malouda
Malouda insists it was Mourinho who persuaded him to join Chelsea
Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon moved to allay fears the club could lose their star players as a result of Jose Mourinho's departure.

Reports suggested a number of stars were unhappy with the manager's exit.

But Kenyon, who has spoken to several members of the squad, said: "I am not concerned about there being a mass exodus in the summer.

"The players came out before training this morning and made it clear they are supportive of moving forwards."

Ricardo Carvalho was among those players reported to be considering their Stamford Bridge futures.

"It is a very sad day for me and the team," the defender is quoted as saying. "I had a big offer from Real Madrid but I stayed at Chelsea because of Mourinho."

Summer signing Florent Malouda added: "I joined Chelsea because of my first meeting with Mourinho."

Several reports claimed striker Didier Drogba was "furious and upset" at the parting of the ways between Chelsea and their charismatic Portuguese coach.


AC Milan are admirers of the Ivory Coast striker and would happily finance a move to take him to the San Siro.

Drogba, 29, was Chelsea's top scorer with 33 goals last season.

Other reports suggested Michael Essien, who was brought to the club by Mourinho in August 2005, could be considering his future.

But BBC Sport understands the Ghana midfielder will not be leaving Stamford Bridge.

The 24-year-old is enjoying life in English football and considers the manager's departure as part of the game.

We have seen the tension on Mourinho with the results in the Premier League

Claude Makelele
But Paulo Ferreira, also brought to Chelsea by Mourinho, is said to be mulling over his future at the club.

A huge question mark will also hang over the future of England midfield man Frank Lampard, who has already put talks on a new contract on hold and was regarded as one of Mourinho's most trusted lieutenants in the dressing room.

Lampard has long been linked with a move to Spain with either Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Carvalho added: "For me there is no doubt, Jose Mourinho is the best coach in the world and I cannot believe that we have lost him.

"I never thought he would leave Chelsea without finishing his work, without achieving everything he wanted to.

"This is the first time he has ever done this and it will be terrible for him. He loved Chelsea."

Veteran midfield man Claude Makelele added: "This news was like a bomb for me. I would never have believed we would see the exit of the coach just two months into the season.

"We have seen the tension on Mourinho with the results in the Premier League, but he was still confident.

"The new injuries had really hit the manager hard and you could see the anxiety grow as the results started to go wrong."

What next for Mourinho?
20 Sep 07 |  Chelsea
Grant says he is in full control
21 Sep 07 |  Chelsea
Mourinho agrees Chelsea pay-off
20 Sep 07 |  Chelsea
Reaction to Mourinho's exit
20 Sep 07 |  Chelsea
Uefa hands Scolari four-match ban
20 Sep 07 |  Internationals


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