Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s miserable start to the season has worsened after he was charged with misconduct by the Football Association for his sending off in Saturday’s defeat at West Ham.
Mourinho was sent to the stands at half-time for protesting to referee Jonathan Moss over his decision to dismiss midfielder Nemanja Matic and disallow a strike by Blues team-mate Cesc Fabregas.
The embattled boss is now at risk of being banned from the touchline for the weekend visit of Liverpool, a match already being billed as make or break for his Chelsea future.
“Jose Mourinho has been charged with misconduct in relation to his language and/or behaviour towards the match officials in or around the dressing room area at half-time,” said the FA.
Mourinho was handed a £50,000 fine and a suspended one-match stadium ban earlier this month for criticising officials, although he and Chelsea have appealed that sanction.
He has until Thursday evening to accept or reject his latest charge, meaning he is free to prepare his team as normal for tonight’s Capital One Cup trip to Stoke.
The Portuguese could, however, learn his fate before Liverpool and new boss Jurgen Klopp head to Stamford Bridge for Saturday’s lunchtime Premier League fixture.
If found guilty, he could be fined or banned from the touchline – a punishment that would keep him from the dugout but not from giving pre-match and half-time team talks or communicating with the bench by phone during the game.
The 2-1 reverse at West Ham was the champions’ fifth from 11 league games already this season, a run that has left Mourinho’s position at risk despite winning the title in May.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes, meanwhile, insists Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich would be wrong to make Mourinho the club’s 11th managerial departure in 12 years.
“He says it himself that he’s a top manager,” said Hughes. “He’s the best manager Chelsea have ever had so why would they change him?”