Mourinho's Chelsea crisis deepens after Porto defeat
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has tried a variety of tactics to sting his Premier League champions into action, yet their latest defeat against Porto turned their slump into a full-scale crisis.
Beaten, battered and crestfallen, Chelsea joined the long list of desperate performances by English clubs in the Champions League as they went down to a 2-1 defeat in Portugal.
And make no mistake, they deserved to be beaten on a night when Mourinho was returning to one of his former clubs.
After threatening to drop some of his star names and replacing them with youngster, Mourinho's team-sheet in Portugal was evidence that he was determined to live up to his threats.
Eden Hazard dropped to the substitutes bench alongside captain John Terry and Nemanja Matic as Mourinho proved there were no untouchables in his squad.
His hardline approach also followed his outspoken criticism of his players' attitude, but Mourinho's words did not have the desired effect as Chelsea looked vulnerable throughout.
Yacine Brahimi waltzed inside Branislav Ivanovic and behind Pedro, then fired in a shot which Asmir Begovic punched only as far as Andre, who hooked the ball in.
Willian replied with a delightful curling free-kick on the stroke of half-time, but then woeful defending allowed Maicon to head in a corner seven minutes into the second half.
Diego Costa hit the bar, but Porto placed Chelsea under siege and the visitors were grateful to goalkeeper Asmir Begovic for some crucial interventions and a Danilo header came off the post.
Mourinho, who won the 2004 Champions League with Porto, was scathing in his criticism following Saturday's 2-2 draw at Newcastle, which left the defending champions 14th in the Premier League with two wins from seven games.
"We watch dozens and dozens of repetitions of Porto taking corners. We were completely ready for that and in a moment when the game is under control we concede a goal that is ridiculous," fumed Mourinho after the game.
"They hit the post from a similar mistake. Apart from that the game was balanced. Two ridiculous moments and we were punished."
Mourinho appears no closer to finding the answers to Chelsea's poor form and, remarkably, his future as the club's manager may now start to become an issue just a few weeks after he put pen-to-paper on a lucrative new contract.