Sam Allardyce is shocked by Chelsea’s decision to part company with Jose Mourinho two days before his Sunderland side travel to Stamford Bridge.
After leading the west London club to the Premier League title in 2014-15, Chelsea – 16th in the table and one point clear of the relegation zone – confirmed the Portuguese coach had left by mutual consent on Thursday.
Allardyce considers the decision a strange one, with Chelsea facing four fixtures in the space of just over two weeks.
“I’m shocked, I have to say. The timing is quite amazing, irrespective of whether he should or shouldn’t [have been sacked],” Allardyce said.
“Just a couple of days before the game they’re playing against us, is something I thought wouldn’t happen.
“And at this period of time at Christmas when you’re trying to bring in a manager with all the games, is a strange choice.
“We don’t know what’s happened, what’s gone on, but we have to face Chelsea on Saturday and try to get a result.”
The Sunderland boss spoke of his fondness for the Portuguese and believes he will be missed in the Premier League.
“It will be really strange not seeing him on the bench and not having a chat with him beforehand and after the game,” he added.
“It’s another casualty in the Premier League, which is what we expected this season based on the pressures of the new financial deal.
“He’s a great character and I think you want to pitch your wits against the best. And he’s one of the best in the world.
“His CV has proven that over the years since he left Portugal and came to Chelsea the first time around.
“He’s one of the big challenges you had as a manager. How could you work out the tactics for your team to get a result against them which generally shouldn’t happen?”