Antonio Conte has lost the support of his Chelsea squad and the atmosphere at the club is now as bad as when Jose Mourinho was fired, according to reports.
The Blues were humbled by Bournemouth in midweek, and knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Arsenal, and are in danger of slipping outside the top four ahead of a very testing Champions League tie against Barcelona.
And, according to ESPN Brasil, Conte could be sacked if Chelsea lose to the Catalan club, with all but one player in the squad now having lost faith in their manager.
The reports claim Conte’s decision to axe Diego Costa by text began the turmoil the club are now experiencing, while his bust-up with David Luiz only made matters worse.
The Brazilian was dropped after a furious exchange following a heavy defeat away to Roma, though Luiz’s treatment – given that he is a senior player and one of the leaders within the squad – did not go down well.
Now, Cesar Azpilicueta is the only player who is still on Conte’s side, with many players feeling the same way they did under Mourinho back in 2015.
Back then, the Blues endured a miserable run of form that resulted in Mourinho losing his job, with players barely even trying in matches, and the mood is the same again now.
Conte’s text message to Costa also angered Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich and director Marina Granovskaia, while the decision to axe one of the Russian billionaire’s favourite players, Luiz, did not go down well either.
Chelsea are likely to judge Conte on Chelsea’s performance against Barcelona, and if they lose the club are already lining up a replacement, with Carlo Ancelotti and Luis Enrique linked.