Chelsea staff are surprised by Maurizio Sarri's poor treatment of Gary Cahill in recent days

Chelsea v PAOK - UEFA Europa League - Group L

Maurizio Sarri can be under no illusions - Chelsea's 2-1 victory over Malmo has done little to avert the sense of crisis at the club. 

Goals from Ross Barkley and Olivier Giroud ensured the Blues did not suffer another embarrassing defeat, but the club's more regular starters are still licking their wounds from the 6-0 mauling at Manchester City. 

Sarri's men have won just two of their last six league games. A matter of weeks ago, they hadn't lost by four goals in a Premier League game for over 20 years, and they've now managed it twice in as many weeks. 

It's a sorry state of affairs and one which has led to serious doubts about the manager's long-term future.

The Italian has publicly called out his players over their lack of "motivation". That never, ever ends well at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte will both tell you that.

When Chelsea bosses lose the dressing room, it's usually gone for good. It seems strange then, that Sarri is willing to alienate well-respected players like Gary Cahill, even if the centre-back is in the final six months of his contract and is a shadow of the player he once was.

Understandably, the 33-year-old has been phased out and has started just six times this season: four in the Europa League, twice in the League Cup, and none in the league. 

Yet, the former skipper deserves a level of respect that, according to the Telegraph, he's just not getting from Sarri. 

The newspaper claim he has been made to feel like a 'ghost' in recent days. 

Chelsea staff are shocked  

The former England international was left out of the travelling squad to face Malmo without any explanation.

It was a game he believed he had a good chance of playing in, especially with the regular defence having leaked six goals just days before.

He only found out he wasn't part of the squad when the list was released. 

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Chelsea staff are said to be 'surprised' by the way he has been treated. It's suggested Cahill is one of a number of fringe players to whom Sarri barely speaks. 

This is a defender who has contributed to six different honours during his time in west London.

In an ideal world, he would have left in January but a suitable offer did not materialise. 

Instead, he has gone into training day in, day out, without questioning Sarri or demanding to know why he isn't playing. 

If Sarri wants to improve his relationship with the players, then treating one of their most experienced leaders so poorly isn't going to help. 

Do you think Sarri has lost the dressing room? Have your say in the comments. 

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