Jose Enrique says Newcastle United must appoint a 'big name' to replace Chris Hughton as manager to avoid the club becoming a 'joke'.
Hughton was sacked by Newcastle on Monday despite leading the team back into the Premier League and to a respectable 12th position after 16 games.
His departure stunned the squad and Enrique has revealed all the players wanted Hughton to stay in charge at St James' Park.
Peter Beardsley has been placed in caretaker charge ahead of Saturday's game against Liverpool, but reports suggest owner Mike Ashley wants to install Hughton's successor before the weekend.
Alan Pardew is currently the favourite to take over and Spanish full-back Enrique is adamant Newcastle must bring in a proven replacement for Hughton.
"The fans are not happy, the players are not happy," Enrique told the Daily Mail.
"It was a big surprise and we haven't been told a thing about why he left or who might come in.
"We were all happy with Chris. He's a great person, he works really hard and we all wanted him to stay. He'll get a chance with a big club soon because he is a great manager.
"If they are going to fire someone as good as Chris, they have to then bring in a big name, someone who has won trophies. And that doesn't even mean he will necessarily be better.
"If they just bring in someone similar, it's a joke."
Enrique added: "We don't have a team that belongs in the top six. It's not like we're low down in the table. Things are like this at this club. Strange things happen."
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