Jose Mourinho has been told his job as Chelsea manager is safe, but will be called into serious question if the club's hopes of finishing in the top four diminish.
A report in the Evening Standard claims Roman Abramovich held crisis talks long into Saturday night following the 3-1 loss against Southampton at Stamford Bridge.
The defeat, their sixth in 12 competitive matches this season, leaves the Blues ten points behind current leaders Manchester City and just two places above the relegation zone.
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Abramovich has decided to look past Chelsea's worst start to a campaign for 37 years, instead backing Mourinho to turn things around. However, if the situation fails to improve, Mourinho faces being dismissed by the Russian oligarch for the second time in the space of a decade.
Chelsea's notoriously quiet owner and his band of Stamford Bridge officials still want the Special One to be in charge for the long term, and does not want to invite the turbulence that comes with sacking a popular manager.
Mourinho has publically admitted that he would be willing to quit if he lost the Chelsea dressing room, claiming the players are still fully on side. That is despite reports that several first-team members were feeling troubled by the Special One's selection policy.
There is also, of course, the problem of finding an adequate replacement. Abramovich has already worked his way through a number of high-profile managers while others appear unavailable.
Pep Guardiola is closing in on a new contract at Bayern Munich while Jurgen Klopp looks set to take charge of Liverpool. Carlo Ancelotti is unlikely to return to west London after leaving in acrimonious circumstances four years ago.
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