Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich spent almost every day at their Cobham training ground last week, overseeing the training methods of his manager Andre Villas-Boas, who has been cut to 1/1 favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave their club.
Mass speculation has resulted from Abramovich’s frequent trips to the training ground, with many believing the Russian is ready to accept he made a mistake in paying an extortionate compensation fee to appoint the 33-year-old from Porto.
The Chelsea squad was called in on their day off for extra training and a team meeting following their 2-0 defeat at Everton over the weekend, continuing a poor trend of results that has seen them win just twice in their past ten Premier League games.
Champions League qualification is now far from a certainty, and as other managers have been mercilessly sacked by Abramovich for failure to win the Premier League, European success this season may be the only thing that could give Villas-Boas a chance of salvation.
What will undoubtedly go against the Portuguese’s chances of keeping his job is the worrying lack of respect he may feel that some senior Chelsea players have afforded him.
After calling in his team in on Sunday, a regular day off, players reportedly voiced concerns over tactics and team selection policies in the presence of their Russian owner.
A more favourable notion for the manager is that he was solely Abramovich’s choice to take charge at Stamford Bridge, and therefore may be afforded more patience than previous managers as the chairman would prefer to give an extended chance for his personal choice to succeed.
It could be a massive next few weeks for Villas-Boas, as the nature of results of their FA Cup fifth round tie with Birmingham and Champions League last-16 encounter with Napoli could determine the current boss’s fate.