Graham Hunter explained why the relationship between Jose Mourinho and his players has been damaged in recent weeks.
Real Madrid lost their third La Liga game of the season at Real Betis at the weekend, leaving them11 points behind Barcelona after 13 matches and facing an uphill struggle to retain their title.
Spain-based journalist Hunter believes there has been long-standing tension between Mourinho and several members of his squad, who do not appreciate some of his infamous outbursts in the media.
And he feels a recent interview with a French football magazine has seen some elements of the dressing room - and the Spanish media - turn against him.
"A year ago there was this big bust-up after two bad results and the players said it helped to clear the air," Hunter told Revista.
"One of the petitions they gave to him, specifically, was fewer polemic outbursts and to try to concentrate on the training ground and less dragging the club through the muck. They said that would help them and they went on to play a brilliant season.
"Yet when he sat down, by his own invitation, with France Football he came out with this crazy phrase where he said 'it's not me that all the journalists in Spain are against, even those in Madrid, they're against Real Madrid itself'.
"That was a farcical statement which made the players laugh at him and helped sharpen the knives [in the media].
"When an intelligent, tactical man goes out and says nonsense things like that he loses respect - and it automatically says to the players that he's forgotten already what they asked him a year ago and what helped them win the title.
"I think that's self-defeating."
Mourinho was critical of his publically critical of his players after their defeats to Getafe and Sevilla earlier in the season and on Saturday he made a point of shaking the hand of all of the players in the successful Betis team before they left the pitch.
And Hunter said those actions - as well as his words in the press conference afterwards - were a very deliberate attempt to make a point to his squad, who struggled to follow-up their Champions League draw at Manchester City with a strong league performance.
He said: "He was much more savage and angry [after the previous defeats], but the knife still went right into its target.
"He said he didn't like the calendar and the fact they had to play Wednesday-Saturday, but when he sees a Davis Cup player for Spain, Radek Stepanek, at 34-years of age leaving his soul on the ground and willing to die for his country for victory you can't tell me that these top players can't handle two games in three or four days at the age of 24 to 26.
"That came after making a real point of congratulating the Betis fans and players. He knew what he was aiming at - and he hit his target."