Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas has reacted angrily to claims he is responsible for leading a dressing room rebellion against manager Jose Mourinho. The Spain midfielder has been accused of leading a revolt against the Blues boss amid the club's harrowing start to the season.
The west London club have made the worst start to the defence of their title in Premier League history following six defeats in their opening 11 top flight games, which leaves them 15th and four points above the relegation zone. The remarkable U-turn in the Stamford Bridge club's form from last season where they strolled to the championship, has led to accusations of leading players turning against Mourinho.
BBC Radio Five Live correspondent Garry Richardson has claimed that an unnamed Chelsea player says the squad are frustrated by Mourinho's recent behaviour – which has seen him contribute to the departure of team doctor Eva Carneiro and regularly criticise referees – while the anonymous individual says he would prefer to lose than win for the Portuguese boss. The Secret Footballer, the pseudonym of a mystery current player who writes a respected blog on topical issues in the game, has since identified Fabregas as leading a "mini-revolt".
But the Spain international has denied such claims and via his official Twitter page has launched a desperate defence of his relationship with the under-fire Mourinho. "I would like to clarify that contrary to a few reports from some online websites, I am extremely happy at Chelsea and have an excellent relationship with the manager," he wrote. "There may be certain individuals from the outside trying to destabilise this club but I strongly believe that we will bounce back and come good again."
Fabregas has been among a core of Chelsea players to have significantly underperformed this term amid a torrid run of form both domestically and in Europe. The club resume their Champions League campaign on Wednesday [4 November] against Dynamo Kiev outside the qualification places for the knockout stage after winning one of their opening three group matches.
The 28-year-old had started all 10 of Chelsea's Premier League fixtures prior to the defeat to Liverpool which saw Fabregas left on the bench and restricted to a cameo appearance in the second half. The introduction of the former Arsenal and Barcelona playmaker then coincided with Liverpool scoring twice in the closing minutes to complete a 3-1 win.
The result has been followed by a string of allegations regarding the dressing room dynamic at Chelsea, with BBC reporter Richardson reporting that many of the first team squad are disillusioned with life at the Premier League champions. "Let me tell you what I know on the Chelsea story," Richardson said on his Sportsweek programme. "My information comes from a Chelsea first-team player. The information was actually passed to me by a football contact. I was told that Jose Mourinho's relationship with many of his players is at rock-bottom.
"I was told they were fed up with the way he has been dealing with some of them. They are fed up with his outbursts. I was told that his relationship particularly with Eden Hazard was under immense strain. Here is a staggering quote. One player said recently: 'I'd rather lose than win for him.' Now that quote may well have been said in the heat of the moment but it perhaps gives an insight into the mood of some of the players."
Those revelations have been followed by further claims from The Secret Footballer, whose identity is unknown, who is convinced Fabregas is orchestrating the current divide in the Chelsea ranks. "I'm told that Cesc Fabregas is the leader of that mini-revolt," he wrote on thesecretfootballer.com. "And as a player, you do things like this when you know you are in the right. You try your luck. Why not? It's your way of saying to the manager: 'You can either listen to us, and give the go ahead to change and give us what we want, or we'll keep serving you up the same old s**t and embarrass you.'"