Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich decided he wanted rid of Roberto di Matteo last week, it has been revealed.
The Daily Star says the tycoon's representatives approached Rafa Benitez BEFORE the weekend when the Blues slumped 2-1 at West Brom.
He was unhappy at Di Matteo not rotating his squad, leaving stars like Oscar and Eden Hazard looking exhausted.
He was also well aware most Chelsea players were not getting on with the Italian.
"He made the decision to sack Di Matteo a week ago," said a source close to Abramovich.
But Benitez, 52, knows he is on borrowed time at Stamford Bridge, with billionaire Abramovich still chasing ex-Barcelona boss Guardiola.