Jose Mourinho, it seems, is beginning to lose the dressing room at Chelsea - with an unnamed senior player using a one-word derogatory nickname to describe the revered Portuguese coach.
This is according to James Olley of the London Evening Standard, who has exclusively revealed that several Chelsea players are growing increasingly unhappy at their manager’s handling of the club.
It’s understood that other members of Chelsea’s first-team squad are using the “crude” one-word nickname for Mourinho behind his back.
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Mourinho is under significant pressure, despite winning the Premier League title last season, after a surprisingly poor start to the 2015-16 campaign.
Chelsea have secured eight points from their opening eight league fixtures, leaving them 16th in the table ahead of Saturday’s must-win clash against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge.
Could Mourinho be sacked this weekend?
Defeat against Tim Sherwood’s men and there’s a possibility, however remote, that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will opt to sack the divisive ex-Real Madrid head coach.
Mourinho was issued with a vote of confidence via the Blues’ official website last week, but the man himself insists he will not resign - unless he loses the dressing room.
But even if he has lost the dressing room at Chelsea - as he did during his final season at Real Madrid - walking away from the job would see him miss out on as much as £37.5 million.
After handing him a new four-year contract in August, Abramovich would need to pay Mourinho a record severance package before appointing a new head coach.
Simeone to replace Mourinho?
Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone and the out-of-work Carlo Ancelotti - who was sacked by Abramovich in May 2011 - have both been linked with the Chelsea job in recent weeks.
And speculation over Mourinho’s future will intensify, significantly, if the west London outfit fail to secure all three points this weekend.
Chelsea fans: who would you want to replace Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!