Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has described Chelsea's decision to sack Roberto Di Matteo as "madness".
Di Matteo was axed following the Blues' damaging 3-0 Champions League defeat against Juventus in Turin on Tuesday. The loss has left Chelsea on the verge of elimination from a competition Di Matteo memorably won in May to persuade owner Roman Abramovich to appoint him full-time in the summer.
Ferdinand, who has only worked under Sir Alex Ferguson during his decade at Old Trafford, wrote on his Twitter page: "Wow, Chelsea have sacked their manager!! I'm a bit late I know but its a madness."
He added: "The stability at our club is something our manager rarely gets praise for...don't under estimate that. #LambChopped."
Abramovich is now, however, looking for a ninth manager since he took over the club.
Wednesday morning's statement from Chelsea revealed they expected to name a replacement for Di Matteo "shortly", with some reports suggesting the new appointment could come in the next 24 hours.
Former Chelsea boss Ruud Gullit believes the haste of Di Matteo's departure ensured that the board had already identified the new man and believes it could be Jose Mourinho.
"I can't believe that Chelsea just sacked him without knowing who is going to be the next one," Gullit told Sky Sports News. "I think they have already in mind who is going to be the next one. It could of course be Mourinho, if it happens, I don't know because it is in the middle of the season."
Gullit believes Mourinho had already been on the club's radar at the end of last season, before Di Matteo's Champions League success prompted them to appoint the Italian full-time.
"I always had the feeling that Mourinho was in the frame all the time - for the simple reason that he signed just after Chelsea won the Champions League," Gullit said. "He signed his contract with Real Madrid and for me that is no coincidence."
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- Roberto Di Matteo
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- Rio Ferdinand