Chelsea defender David Luiz believes Andre Villas-Boas was sacked too soon by the club, although he denied suggestions of a rift between the former manager and senior players at Stamford Bridge.
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Villas-Boas was dismissed by Blues owner Roman Abramovich at the start of the month, after a run of poor results that culminated in an away defeat to West Brom in the Premier League.
Chelsea have subsequently bounced back with some good results - most notably Wednesday's dramatic Champions League comeback against Napoli - but Luiz nevertheless believes the Portuguese deserved more time to turn things around.
"I'm really sad, as Andre was a really capable professional. Unfortunately, he didn't have the time to show his true value at Chelsea," Luiz told Brazilian television. "He didn't have the chance.
"You cannot doubt a professional like him, who won five titles last season and was feted by everyone. But he didn't have enough time at Chelsea."
The latter weeks of Villas-Boas' reign were dominated by reports of a serious difference of opinion with senior players including John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, but Luiz dismissed any possibility that those players engineered the former Porto man's eventual downfall.
"We are a united team but, unfortunately, we couldn't get the results that Andre deserved," he said. "There were no problems between Villas-Boas and Drogba, Lampard and Essien."