Branislav Ivanovic admits Chelsea's players were shocked by Ray Wilkins' departure, but has urged his team-mates to stay focused.
Wilkins was axed as Carlo Ancelotti's assistant earlier this month and Chelsea have lost both Premier League games since his exit.
There have been suggestions that Wilkins' departure has affected the Premier League champions, who lost top spot in the table to Manchester United on Saturday.
Serbian defender Ivanovic accepts the dismissal of Wilkins came as a surprise to the players, but he feels the Blues can recover from the setback.
"Everyone was a little bit in shock," said Ivanovic in The People. "Everyone was surprised because no one expected Ray to go.
"We came in one day and didn't know of the decision before that.
"From the players, let's say thanks for everything Ray did for the club.
"It can be difficult to adjust when someone leaves, but it's normal in football - sometimes things happen which you cannot change.
"We just have to say it is like that, stay focused and keep a high intensity in our training sessions."
What will be the outcome in the match Newcastle vs Chelsea?