Frank Lampard will be sacked by Chelsea on Monday following a dismal slump in form that sees them sit ninth in the Premier League table.
As the Daily Telegraph first reported, the players were told not to come to the training ground until Monday afternoon as Lampard became the 10th manager sacked during the Roman Abramovich era.
Confirmation of his sacking could come on Monday as the club take decisive action following a torrid run of five losses in eight league games.
Sunday’s win over Luton Town to advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup hasn’t proved enough to save the former midfielder from the chop.
The former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is in prime position to replace Lampard.
A dreadful run of league form has seen the Blues lose five of their last eight Premier League matches, leaving them well out of the title picture.
The slump in form led to mounting pressure on Stamford Bridge favourite Lampard.
It came after Lampard said the win over Luton on Sunday would ‘bring a nice air of positivity’ to the club.
He said: ‘People will look very close at the moment but I need to see a bigger picture. This was an important result because it brings a nice air of positivity to the club. We want to win more points in the league. That’s where we are at.
‘It’s nice for us in the short term, the scrutiny on a club like this is normal. When you’re off it slightly the only focus should only be on changing the form. We just go again.’
Talks with Tuchel, who is a free agent following his sacking at PSG in late December, are underway with the German emerging as a prime contender to replace Lampard.
RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann has admirers in the Blues boardroom, but there are concerns over whether he would leave his current employers mid-season.
That would pave the way for Tuchel to be appointed now and he could be in charge for their home game against Wolves on Wednesday night.
Chelsea have been warned off Tuchel, 47, in the past after run-ins with previous employers Borussia Dortmund and PSG but that doesn’t seem to be a factor now.
Lampard was only 18 months into his time as Chelsea manager. He steered them to a fourth placed finish last season and also to the final of the FA Cup.
But despite massive investment of £222million in new players, they have been unable to mount a challenge at the top of the table.
The current seasons started promisingly enough, with Chelsea embarking on a 14-match unbeaten run through the autumn and making serene progress through their Champions League group.
But a 1-0 defeat at Everton on December 12 marked the start of a dismal league run that included losses to Wolves, Arsenal, Manchester City and Leicester to all but end their title chances.
Lampard’s iconic status from his playing days means his sacking will split opinion among the Chelsea fanbase. There was a banner in support of the former midfielder hung from the upper tier of the Shed on Sunday.
When asked about the banner after Sunday’s game, an emotional Lampard said: ‘I’m very thankful for the support and it’s great to see it at the Bridge.
‘I feel it very strongly and I know the modern world has moved on, social media and eyes comes from all parts of the world.
‘One think that I do know is that when I’m at the Bridge, I’m at a club that I love and that has always shown me huge support as a player and now as a manager.
‘So I appreciate it very much. All I want to do is repay that by being successful at the club.’
Chelsea have back-to-back home matches this week against Wolves and then Burnley to try and improve their form.
They will travel to Barnsley in the FA Cup fifth round and have been paired with Atletico Madrid in the last-16 of the Champions League.
Lampard is the 10th manager to be sacked since Abramovich’s takeover in 2003, joining Claudio Ranieri, Jose Mourinho (twice), Avram Grant, Luis Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and Antonio Conte.