Jose Mourinho's position as Chelsea manager is back in the spotlight and defeat to his former club Porto on Wednesday could mark the end of his second spell at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho was subject of the first managerial vote of confidence in Roman Abramovich's 12-year ownership on October 5, but two months later there has been little evidence of improvement on the field.
Chelsea's miserable start to the season prompted the public backing, after four wins and five losses in 11 games in all competitions.
The record since is the same - four wins, five losses in 11 games - and Abramovich watched part of Saturday's 1-0 loss to Bournemouth with his face in his hands.
The holders are three points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone in 14th place, 15 games into the season, with Mourinho doubting whether a top-four finish is possible.
After eight defeats, four of them at home, Chelsea are 14 points adrift of that target, four months into the season.
The October statement said "results have not been good enough and the team's performances must improve", adding the club's belief they had "the right manager" and "he has the squad with which to do it".
Many suggest if Mourinho was to be axed, he would have gone by now, with the lack of alternatives a saving grace.
But only Abramovich knows what he will do and, looking at past behaviour, his patience is being severely tested.
Mourinho, who signed a four-year deal until June 2019 in August, thought Chelsea had turned a corner in a goalless draw at Tottenham, but now knows the consequences of a second defeat of the season to Porto in Wednesday's final Champions League Group G tie could be stark.
With Dynamo Kiev expected to beat Maccabi Tel Aviv, a win would see Chelsea advance as group winners and a draw in second.
Defeat would see the Blues fall into the Europa League and the last manager to preside over such a debacle was European Cup-winning boss Roberto di Matteo, who was promptly replaced by an interim boss, Rafael Benitez.
"It's a knockout game," Mourinho told Chelsea TV. "It's a group phase where normally you still play for points.
"But the reality is that it's a knockout. Chelsea or Porto, one will be out. For sure, a big game."
To extend the boxing analogy, Chelsea and Mourinho are on the ropes and landing few punches in retaliation.
The Portuguese again bemoaned missed opportunities against Bournemouth, who last season won the Championship, but afterwards repeated his claim he would not seek transfer activity in January to improve his squad.
Changes to the playing staff might be imposed from above, though.
Mourinho was taken by surprise by a result Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe described as the best in their history.
"I have to be honest and say I was not expecting this result," Mourinho said.
"The team was in a good moment, working well, playing well. Of course not scoring enough goals.
"We didn't score against Stoke, we didn't against Tottenham. We scored one goal to win the game against Norwich.
"It's difficult for us to score goals.
"Scoring goals is a lot about individuals. The creation is collective, but the finishing is something very individual and at this moment we're not having that."
Mourinho had cause for complaint when the ball hit Simon Francis' hand in the Bournemouth box and Glenn Murray's decisive goal had a hint of offside about it, with the Blues boss ruing his side's luck.
"We lost the game exactly at the moment where we were the strongest team, in our strongest period," he added.
"We were really unlucky, especially to concede a goal when we don't deserve.
"In the second half we did more than enough to score and to win."
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