Salomon Kalou insisted all Chelsea's players loved Carlo Ancelotti and are confident he will bounce back from his sacking as manager.
Ancelotti was given his marching orders barely an hour after yesterday's final game of the season at Everton before travelling back to the Blues' Cobham training base and saying his farewells.
Kalou last week refused to reveal whether he wanted Ancelotti to stay, with the striker having struggled to hold down a regular starting berth under the Italian. However, his reaction to Ancelotti's departure was far more complimentary as he became the first Chelsea player to comment publicly since last night's verdict.
"The players respect him and love him for what he did for the club," Kalou told BBC Sport. "We wish for Carlo to have a good time wherever he's going. We all know that he's a good manager and he's going to bounce back."
Captain John Terry, speaking before the Ancelotti news became public, insisted the players deserved to be blamed for the club's trophyless season. "We have to learn from where we went wrong this year. I think there were a lot of things," Terry told Chelsea TV.
"It's okay when things are going well but when they are not, everyone has to have a good look at themselves. We are having a good break which will be the first time we will get four weeks off for a while and it could be good coming into next season, but we must make it work and start the season well. We haven't played as well as we could have at a lot of times."
Despite Ancelotti having reiterated his desire to remain in the Premier League following Chelsea's decision to dismiss him - which he said he "respects" - he appears likely to be approached by Roma over their managerial vacancy.
A former player at the capital club, he would be welcomed with open arms, according to star striker Francesco Totti. Totti told reporters after his side's 3-1 win over Sampdoria yesterday: "I hope Ancelotti is in contention after he left Chelsea."
Vincenzo Montella, who was placed in charge until the end of the season, remained hopeful of keeping his job. "I have been evaluated by the directors who are at the training ground every day and it was gratifying to prove I can already do this job," Montella said. "It's already a very satisfying experience and we'll see over the next few days what happens."
AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani, who worked with Ancelotti before he joined Chelsea, said today: "I have spoken to Carlo. He will come to see me in a couple of weeks. He is a great coach and I'm confident he will soon find a great coaching post he deserves."
Ancelotti won the Italian title with Roma in 1983 and has made no secret of his desire to manage the club one day. Meanwhile, it is understood Ancelotti was informed of his fate yesterday in the privacy of the visitors' dressing room at Goodison Park once it was empty.
There have been reports the 51-year-old was sacked in a corridor by chief executive Ron Gourlay but this was not the case. The popular Ancelotti even went out for the evening with a few senior players and members of staff.