Chelsea are still reeling after suffering their worst defeat of the Premier League era away at Manchester City on Sunday.
The Blues found themselves 4-0 down inside the opening 25 minutes and were somewhat fortunate that their opponents only scored twice more after half-time.
The result and performance has led to further speculation regarding Maurizio Sarri’s future.
The Italian coach is a man under severe pressure following heavy back-to-back away defeats against Bournemouth, a match which ended 4-0 to the hosts, and City.
Sarri has already admitted that he’s unsure if he’s capable of motivating his current group of players and Sunday’s performance at the Etihad Stadium suggests that, maybe, he isn’t.
The former Napoli head coach could have as little as two weeks to save his job, with a double-header against Malmo in the Europa League, a Carabao Cup final against Man City, and a league fixture against Manchester United all coming up in quick succession.
Ahead of Thursday’s first leg against Malmo in Sweden, Sarri called all of his players together for a meeting to discuss the thrashing by Pep Guardiola’s side.
He organised a practice match at the club’s training ground between a number of senior players and the youth team, presumably in an attempt to rebuild their shattered confidence ahead of their Europa League Round of 32 first leg tie.
However, it failed to have the desired effect.
The Times report that the Chelsea first team - featuring those on the bench against City, including Willian and Olivier Giroud, and other unused squad members - failed to beat the developmental side.
They initially reported that Chelsea’s first team had *lost* the match only to later correct their story, stating it ended in a 3-3 draw.
As The Times say in their report, failing to beat the youth team represents ‘further embarrassment’ for Sarri and his first-team stars.
The match was a 60-minute practice game played over four quarters and Chelsea’s youngsters apparently ‘more than held their own’ against Sarri’s under-performing stars.
Sarri watched most of the match - and was no doubt further disheartened by what he saw - while the first-team players beaten by City did their warm-down in the gym.
Before the practice match, Sarri spent an hour with the squad, analysing the reasons behind Sunday’s disastrous performance in Manchester.
He reportedly expressed bewilderment that his players performed so poorly, particularly as the game came just eight days after an emphatic 5-0 victory over Huddersfield Town at Stamford Bridge.News Now - Sport News