Todd Boehly singled out one of his underperforming Chelsea signings during an intense speech following the side’s 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton on Saturday, according to reports.
The American made a beeline for the changing room after the loss – which is Chelsea’s third in a row under interim boss Frank Lampard – and was not seen leaving until an hour later.
Boehly was joined by fellow co-owners Behdad Eghbali and Hasjorg Wyss and addressed the squad after Lampard had finished his post-match debrief.
He branded their current situation – marooned in 11th place in the Premier League table – as ’embarrassing’, though his speech was designed to wake the players from their malaise and fire them up before facing Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
But his plan may have had the opposite effect, with The Guardian now reporting that one player was left ‘disillusioned’ after being singled out and ‘heavily criticised’ by Boehly during his speech.
The identity of the player in question has not been disclosed, but it is a senior player signed for a large fee by the new ownership in the past 12 months.
Five permanent signings made in the past year were in the starting XI against Brighton, though only one – Raheem Sterling – is over the age of 22 and might be considered a senior member of the dressing room.
Although it is not unusual for owners to speak to players – indeed, Kepa Arrizabalaga described it as ‘normal’ at his pre-Real press conference – Boehly’s speech was described as ‘weird’.
The player he singled out has ‘cut a disgruntled figure’ in training since the dressing down, which is not ideal with Chelsea needing to overturn a two-goal deficit against the Champions League holders.
Goalkeeper Kepa was asked about Boehly’s much-talked-about visit to the dressing room and declined to go into any great detail about what was said.
‘Todd comes to the changing room every game so he had different chats with us after different games,’ said the Spanish shot-stopper when asked about the owner’s visit to the dressing room.
‘I’m not going to say what he said, but it is normal when he comes to the changing room.’
Boehly was confronted by angry supporters during the defeat to Brighton, with supporters sat above the director’s box sending down a volley of abuse at Stamford Bridge.