Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce says he is surprised by the news that Chelsea have parted ways with manager Jose Mourinho.
The Blues are set to face the Black Cats in their next Premier League game at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but Big Sam won't get the chance to pit his wits against the Portuguese tactician.
"I'm shocked, I have to say," Allardyce told reporters. "The timing is amazing, irrespective of whether you think they should or shouldn't have done it.
"To do it just a couple of days before they play us is something I thought wouldn't happen. At this time of year, to try and bring a new manager in with all the games that have to be played over Christmas, is a strange choice.
"But behind the scenes we don't know what has happened – what has gone on – and we have to face Chelsea on Saturday and try and get a result.
"It will be very strange not seeing Jose on the bench there, and having a chat with him before and after the game.
"It's another casualty in the Premier League, which is what we expected this season, based on the pressures of the new financial deal and certainly from Chelsea's point of view, the implications of them not qualifying for the Champions League."
Chelsea have now lost nine of their games this season under Mourinho to drop down to 16th in the league standings. Sunderland, meanwhile, are second-from-bottom, and looking to improve their situation inflicting yet another defeated on the beleaguered champions.