Antonio Conte's long tough training sessions at an arduous part of the season, and a hard-line approach to certain players, have become major issues for some of the Chelsea squad as speculation about the manager's future continues following successive three-goal defeats to Bournemouth and Watford.
While the view is not shared by all of the group, a core of individuals do feel that such an approach has contributed to this season's problems. It is also felt Conte has not sufficiently adapted his physical schedule to cater for a more congested fixture list, although there is sympathy that his squad could do with reinforcements.
Sources close to the Italian and the Chelsea hierarchy meanwhile maintain that all parties want the manager to stay on until the end of the season, even if it is now widely expected he will then leave.
While Conte's personality means he wants to fix the situation rather than walking away, there is also the fact that he would miss out on a significant financial bonus by quitting. Chelsea would similarly have to offer a pay-out if they sacked him given the manager signed a new contract in the summer, but there is also the issue of availability of options.
As with Jose Mourinho in 2015-16, owner Roman Abramovich also wants to give the manager time, but – just like then – that may change if results continue so drastically bad.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies