The writing is on the wall for Carlo Ancelotti, or more precisely on the sheet. A disgruntled Chelsea fan made a couple of protest banners out of two bed sheets and planted them opposite the entrance to Chelsea's Surrey training ground yesterday.
One sheet read: "Ancelotti and Abramovich out", while the other was aimed at the players: "None of you are fit to wear the shirt."
They were the first signs of supporters turning on the regime after a run of just one win in nine games in which the Premier League champions have tumbled from first place to fifth, but the banners provided little more than light amusement for the Chelsea manager.
Ancelotti, who had not seen them, said: "Was it only one banner? If only one, there's no problem. For a manager it's important to have support of the club, the players and the fans – all apart from one of them. It's the right way to move on quickly."
Ancelotti said he had experienced far bigger protests against him in Italy: "You saw outside just one person who is not happy with what has happened. In Italy it would be different. There you can find 1,000 people outside the training ground not happy."
The one that counts is owner Roman Abramovich, and for the moment Ancelotti is confident he retains his employer's confidence. But while results and performances are so poor, the likelihood that he will be dismissed increases. Ancelotti repeated his mantra of not panicking yesterday, but admitted he does not feel confident of blooding too many young players while the team are playing so poorly, even when Chelsea begin the defence of the FA Cup tomorrow at home to managerless Ipswich Town.
Ancelotti will be forced into making changes, however, with Ashley Cole, Michael Essien and Didier Drogba having picked up what he described as "little knocks". Striker Daniel Sturridge is set to start.