West Ham are already weighing up potential successors to Slaven Bilic following their disappointing start to the season.
Former Croatia national team coach Bilic is under scrutiny and the Hammers have begun drawing up contingency plans with only two rounds of Premier League games played.
Co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan are known for their reluctance to make mid-season managerial changes and Bilic’s current contract is up at the end of the season, but they are wary of being dragged into another relegation battle after last season’s struggles.
And a failure to oversee a quick upturn in results could leave Bilic in danger and force the Hammers hierarchy to reassess sooner.
West Ham travel to fourth-tier Cheltenham in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday before back-to-back games against promoted sides Newcastle (away) and Huddersfield (home) either side of the international break.
Ironically, the Magpies’ Rafa Benitez is one manager who remains well-thought of at West Ham, despite turning them down in 2015 to take the Real Madrid job, and he is unhappy with the Tyneside club’s summer transfer business.
Bilic has been heavily backed in the transfer window this summer with Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez all arriving.
But West Ham have started the season with two defeats at Manchester United and Southampton, despite a stirring initial fightback from 2-0 down at St Mary’s despite being reduced to 10 men by Arnautovic’s dismissal.
Their trend of conceding late goals has also continued, with three more shipped in the final four minutes of their opening two fixtures.
Transfers and who has the final say on who West Ham sign has also been another source of tension behind the scenes, with Bilic’s influence in that area understood to have been reduced.
The 48-year-old was on shaky ground last season after the club flirted with relegation during a turbulent first season at the London Stadium, but he was kept on after talks with the board at the end of the campaign.
However his hopes of making a strong start to this new season have not been helped by circumstances beyond his control.
West Ham are having to play their first four games away from home due to the London Stadium being used for the recent World Athletics Championships.
He has also been unable to field his strongest side yet, due to injuries.
Manuel Lanzini, Cheikhou Kouyate and Andy Carroll have yet to feature this season.
Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell made their first starts at Southampton.
But on the day they returned, Bilic suffered another injury setback when defender Winston Reid went off on a stretcher after damaging his calf during the warm-up.
In addition, he will be without Arnautovic for three games following the Austrian’s straight red card in the first half at St Mary’s.