Chelsea players are convinced manager Rafa Benitez is a dead man walking. The Sunday Mirror says Benitez has tried to motivate players by telling them performances cannot drop because he is going nowhere.
But the claims have been shrugged off as a "desperate" move by Benitez to try to ensure his and Chelsea's season does not collapse.
A Stamford Bridge source said: "Rafa has said to some of the players that he will still be at Chelsea next season and asked if they will be here with him.
"It seems a bit desperate, though. It's as if Rafa feels the need to try to convince the players he might get the full-time job.
"Most of the players will be pretty confident they will be at the club longer than Rafa, no matter what happens this season.
"There is not a bad feeling among the players towards Rafa, just a feeling of the inevitable. Everything is very temporary. What is the point of a player trying to change how they play or do something differently when they don't think Rafa will be here next season?
"The players are like anyone else. Of course they are professional and try their best, but they talk about who the next manager might be and what might happen."