Frank Lampard admitted his disappointment at not being given more time by Chelsea after the club sacked their record goalscorer as manager on Monday.
Club owner Roman Abramovich insisted the former midfielder's status at the club was undiminished by the decision, which came after a run of five defeats in eight Premier League games.
With Chelsea ninth in the table and 11 points off leaders Manchester United after spending PS220million ($A390million) in the summer, Abramovich brought Lampard's time as manager to an end midway through a three-year deal, with Thomas Tuchel expected to replace the 42-year-old.
Lampard issued a statement via the League Managers Association in which he described managing the club as a "huge privilege and an honour", thanking the clubs' fans who have largely remained staunchly behind him.
"When I took on this role I understood the challenges that lay ahead in a difficult time for the football club," Lampard added.
"I am proud of the achievements that we made, and I am proud of the academy players that have made their step into the first team and performed so well. They are the future of the club.
"I am disappointed not to have had the time this season to take the club forward and bring it to the next level."
During his playing career at Chelsea, Lampard won three league titles and the Champions League in 2012, which perhaps explains why Abramovich made the surprise move to comment on his latest sacking.
"This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him," the Russian said.
"He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
"On behalf of everyone at the club, the board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future."
A club statement added: "There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season."
Chelsea will make "no further comment" until a new head coach is appointed and they will have to act fast with Wolves set to visit on Wednesday.
Lampard guided the Blues into the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday with a 3-1 win over Luton, but the ex-England international becomes the 10th manager to be sacked by owner Abramovich.
Tuchel, who is waiting in the wings, only became available a month ago when he left Paris Saint-Germain less than five months after taking them to the Champions League final, which they lost to Bayern Munich.
The 47-year-old won back-to-back league titles with PSG, but that was not enough to satisfy the club's ambitious owners who replaced him with Mauricio Pochettino.
Prior to his spell in France, Tuchel impressed in his native Germany with Borussia Dortmund following a spell with Mainz.
Australian Associated Press