By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes

Roman Abramovich must sack Jose Mourinho or ger rid of the underperforming Chelsea players, according to Jamie Carragher.

The TV pundit is convinced that there is such a disconnect between the manager and the squad that it is impossible for them to be successful again.

Chelsea are marooned in 16th in the table after their ninth Premier League defeat of the season – a 2-1 reverse at the hands of new leaders Leicester City on Monday night – just seven months after lifting the title with an almost unchanged squad.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football Programme, Carragher believes that Blues owner Abramovich now has a crucial decision to make in terms of the club’s immediate future.

“There’s obviously a big divide between the players and the manager and it’s up to Roman Abramovich. Whose side does he pick?,” Carragher said. “They can’t come back together now and make Chelsea a great team and win things. I’d be very, very surprised if that happens next season.

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“Either the manager won’t be there, or they’ll have to completely change the players because I don’t think there’s any way these players and manager can work together for a long period of time.

“He’s normally always taking the side of the players and it’s the manager who’s gone. This can’t continue, something has to change.”

Deepening division: Jose Mourinho's relationship with Eden Hazard is under strain
Deepening division: Jose Mourinho’s relationship with Eden Hazard is under strain

Mourinho claimed in his post-match interview that he had been “betrayed” by his players, who he says he took to a level that “was not their level” last season as they romped to a league title.

Former Liverpool defender Carragher, who spoke alongside Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, believes the Portuguese will feel he was justified in making the public outburst.

“I think what he meant by the word he used in betrayed, is that some of them have chucked it,” Carragher said. “This quality of player shouldn’t be performing like that.

“You can have a bad run – we’ve all had that as players – four or five games, sometimes it may be longer, once or twice in your career.

“When you look at the performances, he may think he’s right. Because if you look at them now, this is not a team being unlucky. They’re in the bottom six for goals scored and they’re in the bottom six for goals conceded. They are where they should be.

“In terms of the players, how they feel, I don’t think what he’s said tonight will affect that, I think that’s gone before.”

Carragher is convinced that the only way Chelsea can expect an immediate improvement is by changing the manager as there is no way to do major business in terms of player recruitment in January.

He explained: “Maybe Chelsea are looking to what Arsenal and United have done. You’ve got one of the most successful managers in world football over the last 10 or 15 years, he’s our figure and we want him as the manager.

Testing times: Carragher says Abramovich must either axe the manager or the players
Testing times: Carragher says Abramovich must either axe the manager or the players

“But this is a man who’s never done that. He’s never ever been anywhere three or four years, never mind being anywhere in a run they’re in right now.

“We keep thinking Mourinho, this great manager, will turn it around. The reason he’s struggling to turn it around is because he probably doesn’t know what to do. He’s never been here before, he’s never lost games. He’s not used to losing a home game for four or five years, never mind losing nine games.

“What’s he going to say at the training ground tomorrow, what he hasn’t already done? He’s probably had team meetings with the players, one-on-ones, given them stick, then the carrot after the Spurs game [0-0 draw last month]. Where does he go from here?”