The Mirror says Chelsea's players sense the ending of an era was close from the start of the season. In isolated meetings with players, Abramovich openly criticised Mourinho and his methods. In particular, Abramovich expressed his discontent with his coach's man-management skills.
There were other significant changes that told the squad tensions were reaching boiling point. Players were no longer able to read the newspapers at the club's Cobham training ground. They were no longer allowed to take their families there either.
And they noticed that often, when they came off the pitch at the end of training, the club's new director of football, Avram Grant, would be waiting for them.
Grant, appointed by Abramovich in direct opposition to Mourinho's wishes, pumped the players for information about whether they were satisfied with the training sessions. They found his questions irritating and blatantly undermining to the manager.