Napoli have been rocked by reports that the dressing room allegedly had a heated confrontation with boss Gennaro Gattuso, placing his future at the Serie A side in doubt.
The Neapolitan side were humbled 3-1 against a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired AC Milan and reports in Italy soon emerged that strong words were exchanged between players and coach after his forthright views regarding accountability for the loss in the post-match press conference.
Gattuso was reportedly 'scolded' by his dressing room in a dramatic scene reminiscent of a Sceneggiata Napoletana, a musical drama popular in the region of Naples.
Gennaro Gattuso is reportedly under pressure following a heated clash with his playersInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Reports in Italy say that Kalidou Koulibaly (middle) was among players unhappy with Gattuso
The reports of a bust-up, which were officially denied by the club on Tuesday, come a year on from the club being left at civil war under Carlo Ancelotti's reign.
Ancelotti, one of the game's most experienced managers, was left fighting for control against his dressing room over a desire to stay at the training ground following a poor run of results.
A refusal from players caused major friction with owner Aurelio de Laurentiis and it took weeks for moods to calm down and the animosity to cease.
Ancelotti's tenure never recovered from the row after a Champions League game with Red Bull Salzburg and it remains to be seen how Gattuso reacts following reports of a major clash with his players.
Gattuso, a former team-mate of Ibrahimovic, overhauled the dressing room with new faces and he elected to let experienced players like Brazilian midfielder Allan depart.
Dries Mertens was a key figure involved in the civil war 12 months ago under Carlo Ancelotti
Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Fabian Ruiz is a key figure for Napoli and Gattuso but he struggled in defeat to AC Milan
Napoli 0-1 AZ Alkmaar (UEFA Champions League)
Napoli 0-2 Sassuolo
Napoli 1-3 AC Milan
Games in Serie A unless stated
But, it appears, history is beginning to repeat itself in the south of Italy.
According to 'Corriere dello Sport' Gattuso had a 'very strong clash' with some of the most important players at the club following the third consecutive defeat at Stadio San Paolo.
Kalidou Koulibaly, Dries Mertens, Mario Rui and Fabian Ruiz are foundation pieces of this side and they all fell short of expectations in the big match against Milan.
But, those four players reportedly fear that Gattuso's words against the team's attitude against Milan