EXCLUSIVE | By Editor Wayne Veysey

A rift between Jose Mourinho and John Terry has been one of the key factors behind Chelsea’s wretched start to the season, Football Insider sources understand.

The relationship between the manager and captain has been damaged since Mourinho substituted Terry at half-time in the Blues’ 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on 16 August.

[nextpage title=”Next page”]

Although Terry was dropped for only a short period and has started 10 of Chelsea’s 15 matches this season, his relationship with Mourinho has not been fully repaired.

Sources close to the situation have told Football Insider that it has had the knock-on effect of developing cliques in the dressing room and creating divisions between groups of players.

“Mourinho has lost Terry’s ear,” a source said. “This is one of the reasons why results have been so bad. JT is so influential in that dressing room in bonding the players and getting them to buy into what the manager is asking.

“Without JT’s influence, the manager is struggling to get his message across. It is clear some of the players are not listening.”

Mourinho was publicly effusive in his praise of Terry last season as the centre-back rolled back the years to play some of the best football of his career and guide the team to their first Premier League title in five years.

The defender, who turns 35 in December, was rewarded with a one-year contract extension.

Deepening divisions: Jose Mourinho's relationship with John Terry has soured

Deepening divisions: Jose Mourinho’s relationship with John Terry has soured

However, Terry has failed to recapture his form of last season and is now sweating on his future at the club he has spent his entire career.

With Branislav Ivanovic injured and the promising Kurt Zouma shifted across to right-back, former England international Terry has started Chelsea’s last four matches after being an unused substitute against Newcastle and Porto but the team have won only one of those games.

Mourinho’s future is also in doubt as the Portugese, whose team travel to Stoke for a League Cup last-16 tie on Tuesday, endures the worst spell of his trophy-laden career.

Football Insider revealed last Saturday that the champions are ready to dismiss the Portugese in the second week of November if he does not turn around results that are placing a top-four Premier League finish in doubt.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will give Mourinho another few matches but he is running out of patience after the champions slipped to 15th in the table following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at West Ham. It was the club’s fifth Premier League defeat of the season.