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Sam Allardyce is amazed by Chelsea's decision to sack Jose Mourinho so close to Christmas.
Chelsea have lost nine of their 16 matches this season and defeat to Sunderland on Saturday could see them drop into the relegation zone.
Mourinho's departure was announced on Thursday afternoon just as Allardyce was preparing his hold his weekly press conference and the Sunderland boss admitted he was surprised by the news.
"I’m shocked, I have to say," he 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."