Chelsea's players are understood to be baffled by the avalanche of tactical information they are given to carry out their manager's 'Sarriball' philosophy.
Maurizio Sarri is facing a fight to convince the club's hierarchy that he has a long-term future at Stamford Bridge after Sunday's humiliating 6-0 loss at Manchester City, their worst ever Premier League
The Italian is believed to feel that his playing squad is not equipped to play the brand of football he wants to play.
Lead director Marina Granovskaia — at least in the short-term — is believed to be ready to persist with Sarri. She orchestrated his appointment as Antonio Conte's replacement last summer, with owner Roman Abramovich more distant after being refused a visa by the UK government.
Granovskaia will look to provide her appointment with an opportunity to be a success, particularly with Abramovich leaving the majority of the running of the club to her. But amid a backlash from supporters on social media, the club face a daunting run of fixtures, including the Carabao Cup Final against Pep Guardiola's City at Wembley later this month.
Following his appointment, one of Sarri's key remits was to implement the attractive style of play he nurtured with great success during his impressive spell in charge of Napoli.
Despite the club signing Jorginho and Gonzalo Higuain — who both worked with Sarri in Naples — the Italian has privately expressed worries that his squad are failing to grasp what he wants.
has learned that there is anxiety within the squad that Sarri's instructions are too complicated. Some members of the squad feel they are overloaded with tactical information ahead of matches, leaving many of them baffled as to what their manager is asking.
It appears unlikely that Chelsea will give Sarri carte blanche in the transfer market this summer to make the signings he wants in order to see his style flourish.
Owner Abramovich has reined in spending in recent seasons, while history tells us that the club are unlikely to relinquish control of their transfer strategy.
However, there may be scope to replenish the squad ahead of next season with David Luiz's contract expiring, Willian and Pedro both entering the final 12 months of their deals while Eden Hazard is growing increasingly confident of securing a dream move to Real Madrid.
Whether Sarri will remain in situ long enough to try and influence Chelsea's summer transfer business remains to be seen.
Given Chelsea's history of sacking managers, that could provide Sarri with longer than normal to try and get his team's season back on course. A reluctance to pay off another fired manager is another factor.
However, sources insist Abramovich remains regularly updated about ongoings at Chelsea and will intervene if he feels necessary.
Indeed, it is understood the Russian billionaire is open to meeting Sarri after the Italian pointed to a lack of dialogue with the Blues owner following the defeat at the Etihad.
Whether or not Chelsea stay in contention for a return to the Champions League next season will be key to how much more time Sarri is afforded.
Chelsea are currently sixth, one point off the top four, and face Malmo in the next round of the Europa League — where the winners gain entry into the Champions League.
CHELSEA'S NEXT FIVE FIXTURES
- Malmo (away) - Europa League
- Manchester United (home) - FA Cup
- Malmo (home) - Europa League
- Manchester City (neutral) - Carabao Cup final
- Tottenham (home) - Premier League
Unlike their recent 4-0 loss to Bournemouth, there was not a lengthy dressing room inquest following the mauling by City on Sunday. Indeed, there was an acknowledgement from the players that City were simply too good for them on the day. Sarri held a brief team meeting at the club's Cobham HQ on Monday once his players arrived for a light session at 11am.
There may be an opportunity to hold a longer debrief ahead of training on Tuesday — but with the squad due to fly to Sweden on Wednesday for Thursday's clash against Malmo, the Chelsea boss may prefer to utilise his time to focus on the crucial Europa League trip.
A resurgent Manchester United visit Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup fifth round next Monday, before the return with Malmo on February 21 then the Carabao Cup final on February 24. Chelsea face Tottenham in the Premier League on February 27.