Robert Pires claims Gerard Houllier has two games to save his job at Aston Villa after a poor start to life at the Midlands club.
The French manager has struggled to make an impact at Villa Park this term, with his side currently 17th in the Premier League and just one point clear of the relegation zone.
The Villans enjoyed some relief against Chelsea on Sunday after Ciaran Clark's last-gasp equaliser allowed them to snatch a thrilling 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge.
But former Arsenal winger Pires insists that point did nothing to ease the heat on Houllier, and says the manager is fighting for his job ahead of Wednesday's home clash with Sunderland and their FA Cup trip to Sheffield United on Saturday.
Pires said in The Sun: "What's certain is that the two games coming up against Sunderland and against Sheffield United in the FA Cup will be very, very decisive for Gerard's future."
Speculation of dissent in the Villa dressing room has surfaced this season, and Pires confirmed tensions are running high.
"It's true it's a bit tense. Gerard is having trouble getting his message across," he said.
"He is used to a certain way of working and he arrives with new methods.
"From what I've understood, there have been several meetings between Gerard and the players who didn't really agree with him."
Pires expects January to be a busy month at Villa as Houllier looks to put his own stamp on the squad.
He added: "It's not an easy task for Gerard because he has the idea to get off to a new start with new players, so I think the transfer window will be very busy on our side in January.
"From what I gathered, given what he's said, he really needs players because he wants to freshen up his squad.
"There will be a lot of departures, some arrivals.
"Results have been mediocre but what makes me honestly think things can get better is the draw against Chelsea."
What will be the outcome in the match Aston Villa vs Sunderland?