Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's seemingly impenetrable reputation at Stamford Bridge has taken a substantial hit after a leading supporters' group claimed the Blues boss has "broken an unwritten rule" by criticising fans following the 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers.
Mourinho said the atmosphere on Saturday 1 November was "like playing in an empty stadium" as the Blues struggled to maintain their unbeaten start to the Premier League season. Eden Hazard's penalty secured the win after Oscar's opener was cancelled out by Charlie Austin's equaliser.
The Portuguese boss' standing among Chelsea fans has been unwavering since his first spell at the club from 2004 to 2007 but the Chelsea Supporters' Trust has lashed out at Mourinho's criticism.
Writing in his IBTimes UK column, David Chidgey from the CST said: "Mourinho has almost broken an unwritten rule by criticising supporters who pay their hard-earned money week in week out to back him and the team.
"It seems odd therefore that Mourinho has chosen this particular match to come out with this veiled attack on his own supporters."
The Chelsea manager instigated away fans being moved from behind the dug-outs at Stamford Bridge to the Shed End during his first spell in charge, which the CST claim has affected the atmosphere at home matches.
Chidgey added: "Whilst I disagree with how Mourinho has handled this, it is true that there is a real problem football-wide regarding atmosphere and the points he makes are valid.
"It may be that with Mourinho putting it foursquare on the agenda, supporters can pressurise the clubs and the Premier League to change things."
Though Mourinho's statement could be perceived as a way of distracting attention away from his side's performance against a QPR side who have won just twice in the league this season and remain in the bottom three, the Blues are outstanding favourites to win the title.
Chelsea arguably emerged from the summer transfer window having conducted the most effective work after signing Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas but Mourinho says his side still require vociferous home support in order to prevent complacentcy.
"Everyone knows how much I feel connected to this club and the fans," the 51 year old told Talksport. "But at this moment it's difficult for us to play at home, because playing here is like playing in an empty stadium.
"The team then starts playing like it's a quiet, soft game at home. It's difficult to get that strong start where the players, team and fans [are all together]. I was today looking around and it was empty, but not in terms of people because it was obviously full. That's what is frustrating."