Eden Hazard sent a text message to Jose Mourinho after his sacking to apologise for his poor form, the Chelsea winger revealed in a British newspaper interview published on Saturday.
“I sent him the message to say I was sorry he had gone and … well … just that I was sorry,” Hazard told The Guardian. “We’d enjoyed all that success together last season, but this time round we hadn’t.”
Hazard, 25, swept the board in last season’s player of the year awards after Chelsea won a Premier League and League Cup double.
But his form has nose-dived this season, mirroring the fortunes of the team, whose record of nine defeats in their opening 16 league game saw Mourinho sacked as manager in December.
“I felt a little bit guilty because I’d been player of the year,” added Hazard, who is yet to score in the league this season.
“I’d been one of the most decisive players, and this year I’d performed less well. I hadn’t been at the same level. So I sent that text to Jose and he came back to me, wishing me all the best for the future.
“For a team of champions to go through what we have this year, even I can’t explain. Things have been better recently, but we’re still not winning games quite as we used to.
“No one can put his finger on what’s happened at Chelsea.”
Chelsea, with interim manager Guus Hiddink now at the helm, host Manchester United in the league on Sunday.