The nature of Chelsea’s defeat to Liverpool reportedly got right up the nasal passages of billionaire Blues owner Roman Abramovich which, as history dictates, can only spell trouble for the man in the Stamford Bridge hotseat.
As various managers have found out, it doesn’t take too many entries into the Russian’s bad books to bring about decisive action, regardless of reputation or even time spent in the role.
It might seem like utter madness to think Antonio Conte would be under pressure following a single loss in his first five Premier League games in charge, especially since the Italian began his tenure with three consecutive victories.
However, according to the Daily Star, the sub-standard performance against Liverpool allied with Conte’s rather strange decision not to change anything until an 80th-minute triple substitution, caused Abramovich to call club executives into a meeting.
There is no suggestion that the Liverpool loss has suddenly sounded a death knell, but the onus is now firmly on the former Juventus manager to bring the winning mentality back to west London.
Unfortunately for Conte, there are a couple of prime examples of Abramovich’s paper-thin patience in recent memory.
Both Luiz Felipe Scolari, a World Cup winner with Brazil previously, and Andre Villas-Boas, the Porto protégé whom Chelsea paid £13m to prise from his contract, were out on their ears by the February of their first seasons in charge at the Bridge.
Those were the 2008/09 and 2011/12 campaigns respectively, with Chelsea’s backer personally questioning AVB’s team selection in the Champions League thought to be the final straw.
In between those sackings, title winner Carlo Ancelotti got the boot at the conclusion of his second season, while interim bosses Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez, who won the Champions League and Europa League titles respectively, have also been moved on.
Jose Mourinho, the club’s most successful ever manager, was the latest to feel the chop last season when results nosedived, before Guus Hiddink filled in once more.
Still way down the list in our Premier League next manager to leave market, at 66/1, there is plenty of time for Conte to wipe away the memory of the stinging home defeat to Liverpool and earn his owner’s support.
If Chelsea are not in the title race by Christmas, this price may well have shrunk considerably though.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.