Chelsea players have reportedly been in contact with former assistant manager Steve Holland as rumours of unrest at Stamford Bridge continue to grow.
Long serving coach Holland, a popular figure with players, left Chelsea at the end of last season to take a full-time role in the England setup as an assistant to Gareth Southgate.
But, according to a claim by The Sun, Chelsea players have been sending text messages to Holland, as well as talking among themselves about how much they have missed his input this season.
A more intense fixture list as a result of Champions League football has resulted in fewer rest days for the Chelsea squad this season. That, combined with the hard nature of Conte’s training regime, is being blamed for the injuries and fatigue responsible for a mixed start to the season.
Holland was always seen as a point of contact for players and his replacement, Davide Mazzotta, has apparently not made an effort to build a similar kind of relationship. It is said that no other coaches have stepped in either, which appears to have left players feeling isolated.
But even if alleged problems are bubbling away beneath the surface, at least one Chelsea player seems determined to back Conte after witnessing the way that Jose Mourinho lost the dressing room when the team started poorly two seasons ago after winning the title in 2014/15.
“We are ready to fight for the coach,” goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois told the London Evening Standard this week.
“I remember what happened two years ago under Jose Mourinho and things started to be said, there were stories about the dressing room without knowing what was happening.
“We are happy to show that we are ready to fight. We all know what would have happened [more debate over Conte’s future] if we had lost against Watford.”
Ex-Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli has admitted shock over the way that Conte seems to have lost the faith of some players so soon after winning the Premier League in spectacular fashion.
“I’m shocked because you have a side that came 10th two years ago and then you’ve got an Italian manager arriving and turning the squad around and winning the title,” Vialli told Sky Sports.
“If I was a player I’d look at this manager thinking he’s my guru, my Messiah, I want to be with him all the time and no matter what he says or what he makes me do in training, I need to stick to his methods because he’s a winner and he’s a successful manager.”