'Arguments' are tearing club apart, says Drogba

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The Independent Football

Didier Drogba last night confirmed one of football's worst-kept secrets - that there are problems between Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho and his superiors.

Speaking about Mourinho's relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and chief executive Peter Kenyon, Chelsea's Ivory Coast striker said: "There are tensions at the club. It doesn't take a genius to see that not only are there arguments between the different management branches but also that those arguments are having a negative effect on the team's performances.

"Just look at the last few weeks. When the bosses and manager are not rowing in the same direction, there are bound to be repercussions."

Drogba claimed the players were all firmly behind Mourinho. "When [he] says we need new players, he is talking on behalf of the whole group. All the players here feel the same way."

Drogba went on to say he could not understand why the manager was not receiving the required transfer funds. "I don't know the answer. Before people criticise him, they should remember what he has achieved at the club. He has instilled a winning mentality and he is the right man to take us to another level."

The race to succeed Mourinho, should he walk away in the summer, is hotting up on a daily basis. The latest names to emerge on a supposed shortlist include Italy's World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi and Netherlands manager Marco Van Basten.

Internazionale manager Roberto Mancini is also said to be on the list and last night admitted he could be interested in the job: "I'd love to manage a Premiership side one day. Chelsea? It would be fantastic."

Meanwhile, the race to become the most powerful man in European football exploded in controversy yesterday on the eve of the Uefa presidential election. Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, the world game's governing body, infuriated Uefa's incumbent, Lennart Johansson, by declaring his support for the challenger Michel Platini, who is favourite to win.

The pair go head to head today but in a speech at the opening of Uefa's congress in Dusseldorf, Blatter made no secret of his choice. Blatter said: "As president of Fifa I have the right to say - and this does by no means reduce the merits of Johansson - that I have a sympathy for the man who has [accompanied] me since 1998, Michel Platini."