Chelsea’s senior players are braced for Jose Mourinho’s departure – with many believing it is a case of ‘when not if’ their manager is axed.
Dressing-room sources are adamant that there has been no rebellion against Mourinho – but there is an increasing bemusement at the behaviour of the Portuguese manager.
The Blues boss had already been hit by a £50,000 fine and a suspended one-match stadium ban for criticising referee Bob Madley after the home defeat by Southampton earlier this month.
And his sending-off for confronting ref Jon Moss in Saturday’s defeat at West Hamwas met by shock among players, most of whom privately believed that the red card for Nemanja Matic – which triggered the Blues manager’s latest meltdown – was a justified decision.
While a handful of players have aired grievances about Mourinho, there is an insistence that the manager has not “lost the dressing-room” and a feeling, in the words of one, that “we just want our Jose back”.
Yet there is a belief that Mourinho cannot currently lift himself to display his famed motivational powers.
Mourinho has largely been in a dark mood since the 2-2 home draw with Swansea on the opening day of the season, when he turned his fire on club medics Eva Carneiro and Jon Fearn in a flashpoint which led to the departure of the popular Carneiro.
Chelsea have endured their worst-ever start to a Premier League season, in 15th place with five defeats in ten matches.
And while owner Roman Abramovich made the unprecedented move of offering his manager a public vote of confidence earlier this month, players have become convinced that Mourinho is set for the exit.
Defeat against Liverpool this Saturday is likely to prove the final straw for a manager who has won three Premier League titles in two spells at Chelsea.