West Bromwich Albion manager Roy Hodgson has rallied to the defence of his "friend" Carlo Ancelotti following his departure from Stamford Bridge.
After winning the Premier League and FA Cup double in his inaugural season at Chelsea, Ancelotti followed it up with a second-place finish in the Premier League as well as reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Falling short on both fronts resulted in the Italian being sacked by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, a fate experienced by five other managers since the Russian bought the London-based club.
Commenting on Ancelotti’s time in charge at Stamford Bridge and his dismissal, Hodgson praised his work and bemoaned the loss of the 51-year-old from English football.
"[I have] total and deepest sympathy as he is a friend of mine. I know him well from being opponents in Italy. He has done an excellent job," he told Yahoo!
Hodgson also lamented the unfair nature of his dismissal, saying: "One is always saddened when they lose their jobs. Maybe particularly saddened as a coach when you can lose your jobs now by finishing second in the Barclays Premier League and having had a good run in the Champions League."
The West Brom manager was defiant in affirming that Ancelotti's reputation will not be tainted by his premature exit from Chelsea.
"He is one of Europe’s top managers; he has proven that time and time again. Call me old fashioned but I find it hard to regard finishing second in one of the top leagues in Europe as failure," he said.
"These things are saddening for us but I am sure Carlo will be able to put all of these things into perspective and I don’t think that anyone will think any less of him as a manager."
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