Chelsea’s under-fire manager Maurizio Sarri will continue to take charge of the team but according to reports the west London club are considering replacements for the Italian.
On Monday evening the Blues were knocked out of the FA Cup after losing 2-0 at home to Manchester United. The latest defeat comes after recent hammerings at Manchester City (6-0) and Bournemouth (4-0) in the Premier League.
Despite the poor domestic results Chelsea did beat Malmö 2-1 away in the Europa League last-32 first leg on 14 February and The Guardian reports that Sarri will be in charge for the return fixture on Thursday at Stamford Bridge.
Sarri will also be given the opportunity to lead his team out at Wembley Stadium on Sunday when they play Man City in the Carabao Cup final.
However, The Guardian says that Sarri is on “thin ice” and another big loss “could lead to his dismissal”. While the Daily Mirror reports that the 60-year-old is a “dead man walking” and defeat in the league cup final will see him looking for new employment.
Blues in trouble
Spanish winger Pedro admits that should Chelsea lose to Malmo and Man City this week they will be “in trouble”.
Currently sixth in the Premier League table, and outside of the top-four Champions League qualifying spots, Pedro hopes that the cup games can put their season back on track, Goal.com reports.
After the FA Cup loss to Man Utd Pedro said: “It was a very bad day for us, for all the team. It’s a difficult situation.
“There is an important game in the Europa League for us, and, after, the final against [Man] City.
“The most important thing now is to stay calm, train really hard and recover our best football and our best feeling, because if not we are in trouble.”
Chelsea’s next fixtures
Thursday 21 February: Europa League round of 32 second-leg home vs. Malmo FF (agg 2-1; 8pm, live on BT Sport)
Sunday 24 February: Carabao Cup final vs. Manchester City at Wembley (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Wednesday 27 February: Premier League home vs. Tottenham (8pm)
Sunday 3 March: Premier League away vs. Fulham (2.05pm, live on Sky Sports)
Sky Sports reports that the Chelsea board is “very concerned” by recent results and have held “internal discussions” regarding Sarri’s future.
During the loss against United, Chelsea fans inside Stamford Bridge turned on their Italian manager with many criticising the “Sarri-ball” style of play. On social media the #SarriOut hashtag was also trending.
Should Sarri get the sack the Blues could appoint his assistant Gianfranco Zola as caretaker manager until the end of the season.
Sky Sports adds that Zinedine Zidane and Frank Lampard have also been identified as potential replacements for Sarri.
After leading Real Madrid to three consecutive Champions League titles Frenchman Zidane has been out of work since leaving the Spanish giants last year.
Englishman Lampard, a Chelsea legend in his playing days, is currently in charge of Championship side Derby County.
Next Chelsea manager betting odds
According to The Sack Race website and Oddschecker Sarri is the overwhelming favourite to be the next Premier League manager to be leave.
Betfair prices place Zidane and Zola as the 2/1 joint-favourites to be Chelsea’s next manager while on Paddy Power Zidane is a 6/4 favourite for the role.
Betfair: next Chelsea boss betting odds
Zinedine Zidane: 2/1
Gianfranco Zola: 2/1
Guus Hiddink: 17/2
Frank Lampard: 10/1
Diego Simeone: 10/1
Paddy Power: next Chelsea boss betting odds
Zinedine Zidane: 6/4
Gianfranco Zola: 23/10
Frank Lampard: 5/1
Guus Hiddink: 17/2
Brendan Rodgers: 10/1
Diego Simeone: 17/1