Chelsea winger Florent Malouda admits Ray Wilkins’ departure has had a negative effect on the club.
Former assistant first-team coach Wilkins was unceremoniously axed by the reigning Premier League champions last month, and since then they have mustered just six points from a possible 21.
And Frenchman Malouda admitted: “Ray was close to the players and in training he was involved in the animation of the sessions.
“It was a big strain to see him leave like this and we were not prepared for that.
“I first heard what had happened in the afternoon when it was announced. It was a shock.”
However, Malouda insists it cannot be used as the excuse for Chelsea's miserable run, which has seen them surrender top spot in the Premier League.
“What we need is stability and obviously the players cannot react to this decision. We can't use it as an excuse and the fans do not want excuses for why we have not been winning but good performances to turn it around.
“That is the way you have to be in life and sport. What we need is good performance to turn things around and say 'that happened, maybe that was a poor run,' but afterwards we have to react and carry on.”