Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng says the players are shocked by Paul Hart's sacking.
Midfielder Boateng, who had a spot-kick saved during Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Stoke in what proved to be Hart's last game in charge, said: "I'm shocked, especially as I had a good relationship with the manager.
"He brought me to the club and helped revive my career. That was the same with a lot of the players.
"I have spoken to a few of the lads and we all feel sorry for him. A lot has happened over the last few months with players not getting paid and people from outside the club hammering us.
"Paul tried his best to keep the players together and persuade them to give 100 per cent.
"I am very upset because it is easy to blame the manager. If we lose a game we get changed and go home and life goes on but he gets sacked. It's not fair."
"Nobody in the dressing room was talking about him getting the sack and even in training this morning he was normal.
"He was talking about the Manchester United game and how to stop them. It is not ideal preparation when we are playing one of the best clubs in the world on Saturday."