Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was supportive but unsurprised after hearing he had outlasted another title-chasing boss in the shape of Andre Villas-Boas.
Ferguson has seen many rivals come and go during his time at Old Trafford, with Chelsea’s the most likely revolving door since Roman Abramovich’s billions raised them to the Premier League’s top table.
Reacting to Chelsea’s announcement that they had dispensed with Villas-Boas in the aftermath of a 1-0 defeat at West Brom, Ferguson told Sky Sports: “The news is not surprising to me really.
“There was all the build-up in the media and obviously the results haven’t been kind to him. But it is disappointing because he is a young manager.
“When you are young you need time and obviously in this industry you don’t get a lot of time unfortunately, so it is sad in a way.
“I hope he does well because he has got the potential. His work at Porto can’t be ignored and I hope he comes back into the game soon.”
Avram Grant is another former Blues manager who Ferguson has seen off, with the Red Devils’ Champions League final win over Chelsea the decisive result in the Israeli’s tenure.
Grant sympathised with Villas-Boas but believes both results and an apparent lack of style to the Blues’ play counted against him.
“The results were not so good and the football was not so good. I always like more patience but we expect this, no?” he told Sky Sports News.
“You need to bring results and good football, this is the target of Chelsea. The owner has made this clear and he has put a lot of money in to do things in the right way. It’s a club that’s spent a lot of money to achieve the best so every time you are losing games there are some problems about this.”
Ray Wilkins, who previously worked at Chelsea as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant, would not be drawn on the identity of a long-term successor, but feels that in Roberto Di Matteo, the club have a steady caretaker until the end of the season.
“(Di Matteo) has managed in the Premier League, he’s been around quite a while and I would say it’s probably better Robbie takes over until the end of the season than somebody coming in until the end of the year,” he told Sky Sports News.
“Robbie’s the right guy to do it, along with (first-team coach) Steve Holland, that would be the perfect match. We’ll see where they go at the end of the season.”
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew pointed the finger at Chelsea’s misfiring star names and suggested they had questions to answer for their role in Villas-Boas’ departure.
“He has had to take on a club there with a lot of senior pros and in the background probably had a very, very difficult job,” he said.
“I think he deserves a better turn than he has had.”