Antonio Conte is said to be losing the Chelsea players, with the manager reportedly having ripped into his players during the win at Southampton.
The Blues fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2, but The Telegraph says their rally came after being told at half-time that their display was “sh*t”.
Even that rollicking at the break failed to have an immediate effect, with Chelsea’s display remaining lifeless until after they had conceded a second goal, which prompted the introduction of Pedro and two-goal Olivier Giroud.
It was the type of performance that hints at cracks in the relationship between the coach and his players, with Matt Law writing that the Italian is “fighting to keep a grip on his Chelsea squad”.
Conte is widely expected to leave Stamford Bridge in the summer but the coach is keen to keep his players onside while the possibility of winning the FA cup remains to salvage a poor season that followed last year’s Premier League title triumph.
The former Juventus coach has exiled a number of big names since, with Diego Costa dumped last summer while David Luiz remains out of the picture after clashing with Conte.
Antonio Rudiger is the latest player to feel Conte’s wrath, with the Germany defender admitting his perceived criticism of the coach’s methods is “probably” the reason he was axed for Saturday’s trip to St Mary’s.
More from Planet Sport: Pit Chat – the best sound bites and social bits from the Chinese Grand Prix (PlanetF1).
Gallery: Check out the world’s most beautiful golf holes (Golf365).
Loose Pass: What rugby could learn from Man City and football (PlanetRugby).
Remembering when Rafa Nadal came of age on clay (Tennis365).