Criticism of Antonio Conte is ridiculous, says Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who believes the Italian is doing a “magnificent” job at Chelsea.
The Blues boss has faced some uncomfortable questions of late after seeing his side stumble domestically and in Europe.
The reigning Premier League champions sit nine points off the pace in the defence of their crown, while dropping five points against Roma in their last two Champions League outings.
Conte’s position has now been queried, with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich meeting with the Italian coach, but Hasselbaink is hoping to see the 48-year-old take in a lengthy spell at the helm.
The former Blues striker told Express Sport: “I think the rumours are just ridiculous. I think he's been doing absolutely magnificent.
“I think when you are a manager you always get ups and downs. He's had a lot more ups than downs.
“It's normal that he's going through a little bit of a difficult time.
“I would like to see him at Chelsea for as long as possible.”
Conte has fuelled the exit talk with comments of his own, having admitted that he intends to head home to Italy and some stage in the future.
For now, though, he remains committed to the Chelsea cause and the pursuit of more major honours.
Back-to-back title successes will be a big ask for the Blues, but Hasselbaink believes there are many more twists and turns to come in that particular battle.
He added: “It's still a long way to go.
“[Manchester] City are playing absolutely magnificently, but a lot of things can happen in the year.
“These coming two months, three months - November, December, January - are going to be really important months of the season.
“And from there, you'll be able to see in February, where everybody is.”
Chelsea and Conte face another stern test of their credentials on Sunday when they welcome former manager Jose Mourinho and his Manchester United side to Stamford Bridge.