Blues owner Roman Abramovich is set to decide on the Portuguese’s future during the international break amid an awful run of results and a dressing-room mutiny.
Jose Mourinho’s second spell as Chelsea manager is almost over with a dressing room revolt likely to be the final straw as owner Roman Abramovich considers sacking the most popular coach in the club’s history.
Goal understands that Abramovich will make a decision on Mourinho’s future during the two-week international break and has been actively making contact with potential replacements.
Abramovich’s key consideration is expected to focus on whether he thinks Mourinho can guide Chelsea to a top-four finish this season, with last season’s champions already 13 points off the Champions League spots.
It seems highly unlikely that the Blues will qualify for Europe’s premier club competition while the players are so unhappy with the manager. Sources say that only “a handful” of first-team players remain behind Mourinho.
Mourinho’s public and private criticism of individual players is at the heart of their dissatisfaction, with many believing they have been unfairly singled out while the Portuguese protects his “favourites”.
Eden Hazard, Oscar and Nemanja Matic are among the more disillusioned Blues players while sources say the dressing room has badly missed the influence of departed senior players such as Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and Frank Lampard.
Captain John Terry is understood to remain fully supportive of Mourinho but the 34-year-old no longer carries the influence he once did.
Patience with Mourinho is now at breaking point in the Stamford Bridge boardroom and the 52-year-old will only survive if Abramovich is unable to appoint a quality replacement mid-season.
Leading candidates such as Pep Guardiola and Diego Simeone will not be available until next summer so Chelsea would have to appoint an interim manager until the end of the season.
The Blues’ 1-0 defeat by Stoke on Saturday meant they have now lost seven of their 12 Premier League matches this season and sit fifth from bottom in the table.
Mourinho was given a rare public vote of confidence in October following the home defeat to Southampton, but it came with the caveat that “results have not been good enough and the team’s performances must improve”.
The west London club have lost three of their four subsequent league fixtures – their one win coming against bottom side Aston Villa – and have been knocked out of the League Cup.
Chelsea’s hierarchy have also been stunned by the extent to which Mourinho appears to have unravelled off the pitch, with constant outbursts against referees and hints towards a conspiracy at the Football Association.
The 52-year-old was forced to watch his side’s defeat to Stoke from his hotel room after receiving a stadium ban for confronting referee Jon Moss during the 2-1 loss at West Ham last month.
His conduct has been received badly in the boardroom where senior figures are concerned about the damage being done to the club’s image worldwide.
The Portuguese’s public axing of club doctor Eva Carneiro was a public relations disaster and also angered several players as she was a popular member of the backroom staff.