LONDON • Two footballing greats have intensified the pressure surrounding Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.
Fabio Capello gave a scathing assessment of the Portuguese's treatment of his players and predicted that his time in charge at Stamford Bridge is coming to an end.
Netherlands legend Johan Cruyff believes that the Portuguese sets a bad example to young people and suggested that because he did not have a successful playing career, he always wants to be the centre of attention as a manager.
The Premier League champions have made their worst start to a season for almost 40 years, losing four of their first eight matches.
And former England manager Capello lays the blame firmly at the manager's door. The Italian claimed that Mourinho overworks his players and that his tenures at clubs all follow the same pattern.
"Mourinho is a great coach but, after a year and a half, he ruins his players," he said on Tuesday.
"His lads are also psychologically unable to give him what he wants."
Mourinho has never stayed as manager at a club for longer than three seasons.
On Monday, Chelsea issued a statement backing Mourinho, now in his third season in his second spell at Stamford Bridge.
"As Jose has said himself, results have not been good enough and the team's performances must improve. However, we believe we have the right manager to turn this season around and that he has the squad with which to do it," it said.
Cruyff, who managed Ajax and Barcelona after a glittering playing career, said: "What I like about him is he's always capable of creating good ambience within the players and what I don't like is that he always puts himself on the first row.
"It's probably because of his background, where he's never been cheered by 100,000 people or whistled at by 100,000 people.
"Maybe it's because of that, maybe because of the interest from the press, but I don't think he is educating children to play football or educating (them) for life."
There was a separate cryptic warning for Mourinho should he again drop Eden Hazard, who was left out of the starting line-up for the 2-1 defeat by Porto in the Champions League last week.
Mourinho repeated his threat to start youth players after a 1-3 loss to Southampton on Saturday, when Hazard was recalled.
Thierry Hazard, father of last season's player of the year, said: "When he drops him, he is not punishing him, I am sure, but it is by tactical choice.
"And if still nothing changes?
"I will advise."
THE TIMES, LONDON