Former Chelsea playmaker Joe Cole has urged fans to be patient with manager Graham Potter.
Lewes boss Potter, who was only appointed in September, is under increasing pressure after his side’s poor run of form continued with a Premier League defeat by Fulham on Thursday.
New signing Joao Felix was sent off on his debut as Potter’s side lost 2-1 at Craven Cottage, their third successive defeat and seventh in 10 games in all competitions.
The result also saw them finish 10th in the table, 19 points behind leaders Arsenal, having played a game more.
Working as a pundit for BT Sport, Cole said: “He needs time. The fans – we’ve seen a little bit of frustration creep in here, but they just have to understand that there’s been so much change.
“The club has been so stable in its own way for the last 20-plus years and has been successful but (the new owners) have come in and changed things behind the scenes, recruitment and got new ideas about everything in the club.
“I think Graham Potter has acquitted himself very well. This list of injured players – he has an entire team that would comfortably finish in the top five or six injured players.
“You have to go on and the fans have to stay with him and the players. I think we’ve seen enough little sparks from Chelsea to know that the results will turn around.”
Chelsea have changed their manager often under the club’s previous owner Roman Abramovich, but Cole wants Potter to be given time to put a structure in place.
Cole, a three-time Premier League winner with Chelsea, said: “There’s a whole generation of fans who usually don’t get that much time before change happens, but that’s not the way forward.
“That’s not what Chelsea should be doing. To catch Manchester City, you need a structure, you need the foundations, and Graham Potter’s job is to lay all the foundations. In my opinion, he is the man who can manage it.
“It’s a really tough time, but there’s no need to panic.”