Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has issued a rare statement over the sacking of coach Frank Lampard.
The former midfielder was shown the door on Monday morning, bringing an end to his 18-month reign, with former Borussia Dortmund and PSG coach Thomas Tuchel due to take over.
Abramovich, who has held a close relationship with the former player, said, in a statement that Lampard will always remain an icon at the club, and his sacking does not in any way take away any of his achievements.
“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him," Abramovich's statement on Chelsea's official website read.
"He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances, we believe it is best to change managers.
"On behalf of everyone at the club, the board, and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future,"
"He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
Despite going on a 17-match unbeaten run early in the season, Lampard's Blues have lost five of their last eight games, leaving them ninth on the English Premier League table.