Swansea City captain Ashley Williams feels like he has “lost a mate” with the sacking of manager Garry Monk.
Williams and Monk were together at Swansea since 2008, initially as team-mates before the latter took the reins as manager.
In 2013, the duo was part of the team that lifted the League Cup.
However, a run of one win in 11 Premier League games brought the professional relationship to an end when Monk was sacked last week.
As captain and a personal friend of Monk’s, Williams said the sacking had hit him particularly hard.
“It’s been even more difficult than a normal kind of situation because he’s a mate – you feel like you have let him down,” Williams told BBC Radio.
“Then he goes so you have lost a mate that you see every day. It’s just tough really.”
Williams said he struggled to remember when the club last went through such a poor run of form.
“No football player liked to go through this situation – it’s even worse because we haven’t found ourselves like this for such a long time,” he said.
“You get used to doing so well and it’s a shock at times like this.
“We did so much talking and meetings and phone calls just trying to figure out what it was, what’s different from the start of the season and last season.
“In the end we ran out of time with that manager.”