Wilkins, a former Blues captain and assistant manager, said: "I'm absolutely astounded at what's happened.

"I don't really see the sense in it to be honest, let's hope they've got someone lined up."

Asked if he agreed Mourinho was the best manager in the game, Wilkins added: "I would say that would be a fair comment - obviously they will have to look for someone who can hold the reins.

"Winning football matches is what the game's about and he is a winning manager who puts a winning mentality in players' heads and they go and win things."

Another former Chelsea player, Gavin Peacock, was also worried. He said: "I think that half the team will have been affected badly and it's going to be hard to get that team spirit that Jose managed to manufacture."