John Terry has branded Jose Mourinho's exit as a "sad sad day" for Chelsea, as Guud Hiddink edged closer to an interim role at Stamford Bridge.
Former England captain Terry took to Instagram to pay thanks to Mourinho on Friday morning, after the Portuguese boss' departure.
Chelsea continued to keep counsel over Mourinho's successor on Friday morning, but Australia national team bosses had already seemingly let the cat out of the bag.
Former Socceroos coach Hiddink was praised by previous employers Football Federation Australia in a statement that effectively confirmed Hiddink's temporary role at Chelsea ahead of any official word from the west London club.
"Thank you doesn't seem enough. Sad sad day," posted Terry on Instagram as the fallout over Mourinho's exit continued.
"Gonna miss you Boss. The very best I have EVER worked with, unbelievable memories together."
Chelsea's technical director Michael Emenalo cited "palpable discord" between Mourinho and the club's players for the 52-year-old's exit on Thursday.
Mourinho was thought to have attended Chelsea's Christmas lunch with the playing squad before his departure was confirmed in a meeting with chairman Bruce Buck and director Eugene Tenenbaum.
Chelsea are reported to be eyeing Italy's Antonio Conte and Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone as potential long-term replacements for Mourinho, but, in the meantime, Hiddink is seemingly lined up for his second caretaker spell at the club.
Hiddink stepped into the Stamford Bridge breach after Luiz Felipe Scolari's sacking in 2009, and should now reprise that role.
Football Federation Australia posted a statement on its website congratulating their ex-boss Hiddink on his new challenge.
The federation stated on its website: "Guus Hiddink has taken temporary charge at struggling EPL giant Chelsea after the club announced they'd sacked coach Jose Mourinho overnight following the club's disastrous run in the English Premier League."
Well-travelled Dutchman Hiddink managed Australia at the 2006 World Cup, helping the team reach the second round.
The official Socceroos Twitter feed also announced: "Our former boss has taken charge at @ChelseaFC - Good luck Guus!"
Chelsea's former assistant manager Ray Wilkins branded Hiddink "absolutely perfect" to step in and arrest the Blues' slump between now and the end of the season.
"As an interim manager, he would love the challenge, I'm sure," Wilkins said on talkSPORT.
"He would be the one person I would say would be absolutely perfect to come in to the end of the season and straighten them out."
Chelsea insisted Mourinho's departure was by "mutual consent" on Thursday afternoon, only for club board member Emenalo to later offer more forthright views.
"Whilst there is huge sentiment for the individual who has done so much for the club, the fact of the matter remains that Chelsea Football Club is in trouble," Emenalo told Chelsea TV.
"There obviously seems to be palpable discord between manager and players, and we feel it was time to act.
"The owner is forced to make what was a very tough decision for the good of the club.
"Anyone who loves the club, who has any kind of affiliation to the club, can understand that this club is in trouble, and something needed to be done."
Mourinho's exit followed nine defeats in 16 league games this term, results that have caused a shocking descent into the relegation mire.
The messy departure of Dr Eva Carneiro, now suing the club, after being branded "naive" by Mourinho in August, has been viewed externally as causing extra unrest.
Former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas was forced to fend off rumours he had led dressing room revolts against Mourinho earlier in the season.
Now Emenalo has further backed Chelsea's players, insisting none of the Stamford Bridge squad had any part to play in Mourinho's exit.
Chelsea announced Mourinho's departure in a statement on Thursday afternoon.
"All at Chelsea thank Jose for his immense contribution since he returned as manager in the summer of 2013," read Chelsea's statement.
"His three league titles, FA Cup, Community Shield and three League Cup wins over two spells make him the most successful manager in our 110-year history.
"But both Jose and the board agreed results have not been good enough this season and believe it is in the best interests of both parties to go our separate ways.
"The club wishes to make clear Jose leaves us on good terms and will always remain a much-loved, respected and significant figure at Chelsea."