Former Chelsea first-team coach Ray Wilkins was angry to learn of reported dissent from within the Stamford Bridge dressing room towards under-fire manager Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea’s pitiful Premier League title defence lurched from bad to worse on Saturday as they surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose 3-1 at home to Liverpool, a sixth defeat in 11 league matches this season.
Eden Hazard, Nemanja Matic, Diego Costa, Branislav Ivanovic and Cesc Fabregas have been among those to struggle badly so far this season, while long-serving captain John Terry was also dropped in September.
Wilkins appeared as a guest on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme to address claims that an unnamed Chelsea player has turned decisively against Mourinho.
Host Garry Richardson said that “a Chelsea first-team player” had informed him through “a football contact” that Mourinho’s dressing room “relationship, in particular with Eden Hazard is under immense strain”.
Most damningly, Richardson reported that the player said “I’d rather lose than win for him [Mourinho]”.
Wilkins, who most recently worked on the Stamford Bridge staff between September 2008 and November 2010, said: “First and foremost, I’d like to pick up what you said about the player in the dressing room – what about winning for yourself and your team-mates?”
“I’d love to know who that guy was, I’m intrigued. I find that an appalling statement that he’s come out with.
“It angers me a touch, I have to say. Get on with your own job.”
Wilkins believes that senior members of the Chelsea dressing room remain behind Mourinho, who he feels is still the right man for the job.
He added that disgruntled players are part of life at any football club.
“You’re talking about an individual that’s come to you [Richardson], or spoken to you or spoken through a third party who is coming out with these tales,” he said.
“In any dressing room if a player isn’t selected, a player isn’t happy. He only keeps 11 players happy at one given period.
“Whichever manager you are, whichever club you manage – you keep 11 people happy. The rest are disgruntled. Disgruntled players will be from 12 onwards.”
Wilkins served as assistant to Tim Sherwood at Aston Villa until the latter was sacked earlier this month.