Roberto Di Matteo is fighting to save his job only six months after lifting the European Cup.
His Chelsea team have won just three of their last seven games, and defeat against Juventus in Turin on Tuesday would put their Champions League campaign in serious jeopardy.
After starting the season so well, Chelsea's campaign is in danger of falling apart, causing owner Roman Abramovich to lose his patience.
He is not alone. Goalkeeper Petr Cech was at the centre of a heated dressing-room row following Saturday's 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich.
After their game with Juve, Di Matteo's side face Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
These are vital matches for Di Matteo, with Abramovich aware that former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola wants to work at Chelsea when he returns to management next summer.
Cech was furious after Chelsea's poor defensive display left them four points behind Manchester City.
Amid a flurry of expletives, another voice screamed that the display was 'rubbish - and you all know it'.
Other comments that were overheard included the barb: 'Call yourself Champions League winners?' as passions spilled over.
Di Matteo was calmness personified in front of the media a few moments later but back in the dressing room, he too had stomped around in a fashion that was seldom witnessed when he was in charge of West Bromwich.
Chelsea defender David Luiz was surely among those chastised by his colleagues, particularly over the embarrassing lack of discipline in his game.
However, he at least had the good grace to admit what went on, saying: 'We were upset, it is normal. We are disappointed as we should have won this game.'
Asked whether the cacophony of raised voices was the standard reaction, he added: 'Of course it's normal. This is a big club and you cannot lose games.'
The failings in Chelsea's defence are now painfully apparent every time captain John Terry is absent.
They miss not just his quality but his organisational ability, and have conceded an average of two goals in every game without him this season.
'Of course we miss him,' said Di Matteo. 'He's an important player. He gives us confidence at the back - and to the team in general.'
Di Matteo has promised to wield the axe for the Juventus game. Judged on their performances on Saturday alone, defender Luiz and misfiring striker Fernando Torres must be in line for a very public chop. 'It's not just an individual issue,' said the manager.
'As a team we have to defend better. You don't defend with one, you defend with the whole team.'