Cape Town - Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has said that the club were right to sack manager Jose Mourinho in December.
Having won the 2014/15 Premier League title with relative ease, Chelsea were once again expected to be the team to beat in the current campaign. Instead they began the season in disastrous form and spent time flirting with the relegation zone.
Mourinho, who had previously seemed somewhat invincible, paid the price for the poor results and the Portuguese was replaced by Guus Hiddink.
Speaking to Belgian television station RTBF, Courtois has said that the club had little choice but to part ways with Mourinho, and suggested that poor pre-season preparation may have been the root cause of their early struggles.
"It is hard to explain why our season has been bad. Maybe it is as a result of our pre-season preparations, which were very brief," he said.
"We returned to training on July 16 and six days later we were already playing a match against New York Red Bulls.
"We weren't in a good physical shape. We then lost to Arsenal in the Community Shield and went on to make a bad start in the league. A downward spiral set in.
"We needed a change of manager at that point - I have no doubts about it. We drew too many matches and we have also conceded goals too easily. I could have done better with some of them."
Chelsea are currently tenth on the Premier League standings, 11 points off the top four and 25 points behind league leaders Leicester City.