Manuel Pellegrini has two games to save his job as West Ham manager.
West Ham are actively looking for potential replacements as they consider a managerial change following their slump under Pellegrini since September.
They have failed to win any of their last eight games in all competitions, losing six, and have tumbled down the Premier League table from fifth to 17th.
Their daunting next two games, at Chelsea on Saturday and Wolves next Wednesday, will now be decisive for Pellegrini who is under intense pressure to inspire a quick upturn in form.
More dropped points will leave Pellegrini’s side in real danger of falling into the bottom three, which sources have described as a likely tipping point for club chiefs.
Pellegrini has 18 months left on the three-year deal he signed when he was appointed in May 2018. The Hammers hierarchy are reluctant to make a mid-season change but may be left with no option if results do not improve over the next week.
Their reluctance is partly down to the compensation bill in the region of Â£6.5million which they will have to stump up if they part with Pellegrini and his staff.
They also have some sympathy for the Chilean who has seen West Ham’s sudden loss of form coincide with injury to goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Fabianski is expected to be sidelined until after Christmas and his replacement Roberto Jimenez has endured a torrid time, a signing which has contributed to director of football Mario Husillos also being in the spotlight along with Pellegrini.
There is also concern at West Ham about their chances of obtaining one of their preferred targets. Former boss David Moyes, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe and Burnley’s Sean Dyche all feature heavily in West Ham’s thinking.
Intriguingly, all three are also of interest to Everton, another of Moyes’s former clubs, where the long-term future of their current manager Marco Silva is also in doubt.
Along with the competition, Howe and Dyche will also not be cheap as both are under contract.
Bournemouth, though, are aware of the interest in Howe and fear they will struggle to hold onto him if any suitors make a genuine approach to prise him away from the Vitality Stadium.
Pellegrini, a Premier League winner with Manchester City and who led Villarreal and Malaga into the Champions League against the odds, said: ‘More than ever, more than ever.
‘Trust the way you work. Because you have a career behind you. You’re not just starting a career.
‘Continue to believe in what you know or which is the way you must find the solution.
‘I continue talking to the people who work around me, continue to try to find a solution, to continue to more than ever be convinced that what you have done in 35 years of your career.
‘I came here to do exactly what I did with other teams. At Villarreal, at Malaga. To make that big step, growing, and that will continue to be my pressure and my way to do it and the way I think is best.
‘You always have good and bad moments. In the bad moments, you must review a lot of things but you must be very clear. For me, it’s clear. We need a good performance, not to change it all, and hopefully we can do it as soon as we can.’