Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck says owner Roman Abramovich and the board "anguished" over the decision to part company with Jose Mourinho, but urged the club's supporters to move on from the Portuguese.
Mourinho parted company with Chelsea on Thursday following an abysmal Premier League title defence in which they have lost nine of 16 matches to leave them just a point above the relegation zone.
Despite their poor season, Mourinho remains hugely popular with the Stamford Bridge faithful, having won three Premier League titles, three League Cup trophies and the FA Cup over two spells as manager.
Buck insisted the decision was taken in the "best interests" of Chelsea and says the focus must shift away from Mourinho and onto the club's quest for trophies.
"We have received many letters and e-mails from fans over the last few weeks expressing their variety of views," Buck wrote in his programme notes for Chelsea's contest against Sunderland.
"Although we cannot respond to every communication we appreciate you taking the time to contact us with your thoughts, and we read and considered them all.
"I can assure you it was not a decision we took lightly, nor was it a spur-of-the-moment decision. Mr Abramovich and the board anguished over it for some time.
"But the start we have made to the season has come as a major disappointment to the owner, the board and Chelsea fans everywhere, and I think it is fair to say nobody expected us to be in the position we are in.
"Please believe me when I say the decision was made for no reason other than to do what we believe is in the best interests of this club.
"We will not forget what Jose achieved here during two spells as manager. He has overseen some of our most famous triumphs and we will always have a huge amount of respect for him.
"Now we have to look forward and, in order to make the most out of what remains of this campaign, we believed a managerial change was needed.
"There is still a great deal to play for - Premier League points, the FA Cup and the Champions League - and we want to give it everything in all those competitions.
"We are one of the biggest clubs in the world and we are determined as a collective unit to get back to where we should be. We cannot do that without you [the fans] being fully behind us. We need to be together going forward."
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