The sound of Jose Mourinho insisting he is the best man to lead Chelsea just four months after taking them to the Premier League title is a measure of the scale of their decline this season.
Chelsea's 3-1 defeat at Everton on Saturday was their third in five league games - adding up to the club's worst start in 29 years as they lie in the uncharted territory, for Mourinho at least, of 16th place in the table.
Is Chelsea's title defence over already?
It takes a brave man to write off Mourinho and Chelsea after only five games of the new season - but even "The Special One" himself was reduced to offering assurances they would not be relegated after being bundled out of the way by Everton.
Study the evidence and, premature as it may seem, it looks like Chelsea's closest rivals Manchester City are already over the hills and far away, with five wins from five and 11 points ahead of the faltering champions.
Chelsea have lost four of their last seven Premier League games - they had lost only four of their previous 44 before this run.
Of course Chelsea will improve. Mourinho is too good a manager, there is too much quality locked in his squad for this poor sequence to continue and his talk of avoiding relegation sounding like a sideways swipe at those revelling in his struggles.
Champions Chelsea's terrible start
This is the first time that Jose Mourinho has lost two successive Premier League games since May 2006.
In their last seven Premier League games, Chelsea have conceded 16 goals - one more than they conceded in the whole of Mourinho's first season in charge in 2004-05 (15).
The last time that Chelsea had a worse start to a top-flight season was in 1986-87 (three points - P5 W0 D3 L2). They finished that season in 14th position.
Chelsea have already equalled their tally of defeats from the whole of 2014-15 (3) after five games of 2015-16.
Chelsea have lost four of their last seven Premier League games - they had only lost four of their previous 44 PL games before this run.
Chelsea's position of 16th after five games is the worst start by a defending champion since Blackburn in 1996. Rovers too were in 16th place after five games, but they were only eight points behind leaders Newcastle.
The bottom line is, however, that City are currently head and shoulders above the rest of the Premier League, showing a capacity to dig out wins at Crystal Palace - with a late goal from Nigerian teenager Kelechi Iheanacho - as well as outclassing Chelsea themselves.
Chelsea are already looking for City to lose four games while they start winning theirs - and the opposite looks more likely at the moment. The crown may have already been taken off their heads.
BBC Sport pundit Robbie Savage told Radio 5 Live: "Chelsea had no idea. I was looking at Jose in his press conference before the game and he didn't look quite right.
"I think the league is over for them, I really do. I can't see them clawing back 11 points on City."