Ruud Gullit feels opposing teams no longer fear Chelsea and has compared the ailing Premier League champions to golfing icon Tiger Woods.
Woods, a 14-time major winner, was widely regarded as the finest golfer to play the game for much of his career, but a massive slump in form has seen the American fall to number 362in the world rankings.
Chelsea have endured a nightmare start to the 2015-16 season, with their loss at Stoke City on Saturday their seventh in just 12 Premier League games this term.
Jose Mourinho’s side sit 16th in the table – some 13 points off a top-four place – and the Portuguese’s job is thought to be in danger.
Former Chelsea boss Gullit told Sky Sports: “Chelsea are like Tiger Woods.
“In the beginning everybody who was competing with Tiger Woods already knew that they had lost the game. Now people see him and Chelsea and think: ‘We can beat them.’
“They lost that aura of invincibility. They lost it. You can feel it. You can sense it. The players also sense it that the opposition is not afraid of you anymore. You only get it back by getting results.”
Gullit went on to offer his backing to the embattled Mourinho.
The Dutchman added: “In Holland there is a saying, Mourinho he has to drink the last drop of the cup of poison. To the last drop. If the last drop is done then things will change. I think he is the only one who can change it. He can change it.
“If he had said after the last game: ‘I’m wrong. I didn’t need to do that. I was emotional. You’re right. I should have this punishment.’ Then everyone would forgive him.
“In the past when the team won with Mourinho, it was Mourinho who won. When they lost, it was Mourinho who lost. All of a sudden this year, he was blaming the players. Now it was Mourinho who won and the players who lost. That was a bit of a difference I saw. He was criticising his players. Beforehand he always guarded his players. Protected them.”