José Mourinho has been criticised by former Real Madrid president Ramón Calderón for saying he "didn't have a team" following the Primera Liga champions' defeat to Sevilla on Saturday.
Piotr Trochowski's first-minute winner consigned Madrid to their second defeat of the season, and they now sit a mammoth eight points behind league leaders and rivals Barcelona after just four games.
Mourinho said some players were "not committed" but conceded he had to shoulder the blame for the team's lacklustre start to the season.
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And Calderón, who resigned as president of Los Blancos in January 2009 - 18 months before Mourinho was brought to the Santiago Bernabéu by returning president Florentino Perez - hinted at squad disharmony.
"Mourinho's comments don't help the team in any way. The players could just as easily say that they don't have a coach right now," Calderon told RAC1.
"It would be better to see these losses as incidents. I imagine that the players are not too happy with Mourinho's comments."
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Mourinho's relationship with influential individuals at Madrid, such as captain Iker Casillas and vice-captain Sergio Ramos, has been questioned ever since an argument between the trio was relayed verbatim after January's defeat to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.
Madrid attempted to diffuse suggestions of a civil war when the playing duo publicly presented Mourinho with a birthday cake at training, but the repercussions of the exchange in the home dressing room within the confines of the Bernabéu are believed to still linger.
Cristiano Ronaldo's candour two weeks ago that he was "feeling sad" due to "professional" reasons may have further exacerbated the atmosphere, as journalists and pundits attempt to unravel what his reasons really are.
Madrid host Manchester City in their opening Champions League match on Tuesday night as they bid to reach their first final since winning the competition at Hampden Park in 2002.
Under Mourinho Los Merengues have been eliminated at the semi-final stage by Barcelona in 2011 and Bayern Munich earlier this year.