Chelsea players are becoming increasingly baffled by the incredibly detailed tactics of interim manager Rafa Benitez, as well as his methods in matches and on the training ground, reports the Daily Express.
The 52-year-old is renowned for his attention to detail, and is in fact one reason why Roman Abramovich was attracted to the Spanish coach in the first place, following the Stamford Bridge sacking of Roberto Di Matteo back in November.
Recent Blues performances have been so bad that Benitez's meticulous preparation has been called into question, after a calamitous couple of weeks that saw them knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Swansea, held in the FA Cup by League One side Brentford, and forced to settle for a point against Reading, after the Premier League strugglers fought back from two goals down to claim a 2-2 draw at the Madejski Stadium.
Benitez has been told by an increasingly unhappy Chelsea hierarchy that his main job is to ensure qualification for the Champions League next season. He was expected to win at least one trophy as well, but with only the FA Cup and Europa League left, Abramovich's main priority is for the club to finish in the top four.
"Rafa's training sessions are very, very technical and very detailed. And as things have started to go wrong lately, they have become even more so," a Chelsea source told the Daily Express.
"The players think Rafa is starting to disappear up himself with his tactics and details. They like Rafa, and they have not been totally lost by his methods yet, but it is getting that way. He does not rant and rave at them, he is just incredibly detailed, and he loses people. The same thing happened towards the end when he was at Liverpool."
It is understood some players have also been confused by Benitez's use of substitutes, privately accusing the former Inter Milan boss of frequently making changes too late to change games.
The Chelsea source added: "The players know he is likely to be gone in the summer, so it is hard for him to have any authority."