Chelsea could make a move to ditch Jose Mourinho if he doesn't turn things around at Stamford Bridge in the next two games - and replace him with Carlo Ancelotti.
Mourinho has overseen six defeats in Chelsea's first 11 Premier League games of the season to leave them in 15th place, 14 points off league leaders Manchester City and Arsenal, after the 3-1 defeat against Liverpool yesterday.
The Special One is now facing a fight to keep his job less than six months after guiding the club to their first title since 2011 - won under Ancelotti.
According to ESPN, Mourinho will be out of the job if he doesn't guide Chelsea to victories in the Champions League against Dynamo Kiev, and in the Premier League against Stoke. The club's board had previously given Mourinho a vote of confidence but ESPN claims that extends only up to the international break, and if results haven't improved before then he will be out on his ear.
Ancelotti is the most likely replacement having been let go by Real Madrid over the summer. The Italian, who also guided Chelsea to the FA Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge, is believed to be keen on a return, even if it was only on a temporary basis to start with.
ESPN say that the international break is viewed amongst the Chelsea board as the ideal place to change managers should it be deemed necessary because it would give Ancelotti time to get used to his new surroundings and meet his players before the action resumes.
Direct contact between Chelsea and Ancelotti hasn't been established as yet, but talks have been held between intermediaries.
Mourinho, who refused to answer questions put to him by BT Sport after the defeat against Liverpool, has spoken to Chelsea's in-house TV station, telling them he couldn't fault his player's efforts despite the scoreline.
He said: "There are things that are out of our hands. The players tried. You could feel, and not just because we scored in the first couple of minutes, the attitude, desire," he said. "It was 50-50 despite the fact we were winning 1-0.
"There were two minutes of added time [in the first half] and we conceded the goal after two minutes and 35 seconds. What happened in the second half was a consequence of crucial moments, moments that the stadium saw, and more than just see it, the players felt it. From then, what happened was just a consequence."
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