Burnley’s sacking of Sean Dyche came as a “shock” to the players, according to co-caretaker manager Mike Jackson.
Dyche was the Premier League’s longest-serving manager but his near decade-long reign was ended on Friday with Burnley 18th in the Premier League and four points adrift of safety, with eight games left.
The Clarets have only won four matches this season but the decision to dispense with the respected 50-year-old has been widely panned – and was unexpected by those outside of the club hierarchy.
Under-23s coach Jackson – alongside academy director Paul Jenkins, under-23s goalkeeping coach Connor King and club captain Ben Mee – will take charge of the team for Sunday’s game against West Ham.
“I came in (on Friday) to prepare for the under-23s game and I was told to come into the chairman’s office and was told then,” Jackson told a press conference.
“It all came as a bit of a shock and we have to prepare the lads for Sunday. I think it has come as a shock to the players, that is human nature, but they are an experienced group.
“For us it’s about the whole club coming together – everyone here, the fans and everybody bunkering in to take away all the noise and concentrate on what we need to do.
“I don’t think we are going to change how we play in one day. The strength of this group is they will pull together. We might tinker with a few bits of detail but there will be no change of style.”
Sam Allardyce and Wayne Rooney are the early frontrunners to succeed Dyche, with Jackson revealing he has been given no indication of how long he will be at the helm.
“No, all we have been asked to do is prepare the lads for the game on Sunday,” he added. “Our full focus is to make sure the group is ready for Sunday.”
The trip to the London Stadium marks the start of three games in eight days for Burnley, who welcome Southampton and Wolves to Turf Moor next week.
It is a period that could go a long way to determining their season and Jackson, who revealed Mee is unavailable for selection but will be a “voice” in the dugout, is confident they can beat the drop.
“Why not? We have to look at it like that, the performances have been fine details,” he said. “We have to try and look at the positives and take the good bits and use them and move forward.”
Dyche’s departure brings to an end a reign in which he has twice gained promotion to the Premier League and regularly overachieved on a small budget, including a seventh-placed finish in 2018 which earned the club a Europa League play-off place.
“I think (Dyche) can be unbelievably proud of what he has achieved,” Jackson added. “More than anything else he has built not only a club but a culture and identity.
“That is really difficult to do in football and it takes time and takes someone who knows what they are doing and what they want.
“I think the job he’s done, you only have to listen to some of the interviews from other managers and his peers and what they said about him.
“The fans will think that I am sure and they have had a great 10 years. I do not think it will be long before the gaffer and his staff are back in another job.