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."
Players' chief Gordon Taylor claims Chelsea have set an unwelcome record by sacking Di Matteo just six months after winning the Champions League.
"I know Roberto well and he is a good man so this is sad news," Taylor told the Press Association. "It's also quite incredible that he can be sacked so soon after winning the Champions League - and the FA Cup for good measure. It must be a record, and not a good one."