Sunderland defender Bailey Wright has revealed his shock and surprise after finding out Phil Parkinson had been sacked.
The Black Cats parted company with the former Bolton Wanderers boss after a string of bad results.
Caretaker manager Andrew Taylor took charge of the Black Cats 1-1 draw with Burton Albion on Tuesday, but the SAFC hierarchy are confident of appointing a new manager ahead of the weekend's clash with Wigan.
Speaking after the game against the Brewers, Wright said: "Obviously it was a bit of surprise and shock. I enjoyed working with the gaffer, he brought me to the club and gave me an opportunity to play my football at this great club. I owe that to him really.
"I'm gutted to see him go, but for myself there's still a job to do. We've still got our goals that we've set ourselves from the start of the season, nothing changes.
"As everyone says, this is football, this is the industry and things can change that are out of our control. But what is in our control is what we do on the pitch and we just have to focus on that. We're in a good place, we're positive.
"Obviously we would have preferred to have won more games than we have, but we are where we are. We have to look up and head in the right direction.
"We've got to stay positive and keep doing the same things that we do, because we're putting in some great work which we've not got our rewards for. But we have to go and take them, they won't be given to us, and we know that. "
Wright added: "Of course you could say there's a shift there, because the results weren't wins. But in terms of day-to-day work, day-to-day mentality, we were putting in some serious work to go and get results and we weren't quite getting them for various different reasons.
"Some games we were extremely unlucky, and some other games we didn't quite hit our standards. In terms of an atmosphere, there wasn't really any change. We still believed, and we still do believe, what we're here to achieve.
"This is a tough league, there's some tough places to go and you have to show everyone respect because football can be unpredictable.
"No one has a divine right to go out there and win a game, you have to go out and grab it and earn it.
"It's not easy, we know that. The past is the past now and we have to look forward, stay positive and look forward to the season we have ahead because we have a great opportunity for every single one of us."
The Black Cats picked up their third successive 1-1 draw against the Brewers after dominating large parts of the game.
Wright said it was important that Sunderland took the positives from the game. He said: "I think we put some good deliveries in the box, we got some heads on things.
"We've hit the post, there's been some good blocks from them and it's annoying and frustrating to say because I feel it's another game we've dominated - but there really is a lot of positives to take from it.
"We showed character and everyone that comes to Sunderland knows that they're coming to a big club and it's going to be a big game. Everyone ups their game so we have to as well, with everyone we play.
"These are the challenges we face and that's why we're here, we want those challenges and with those challenges come great rewards if you go and grab them.
"There's positives to take from tonight. Burton are a good side, you have to show them respect. Of course we should have won the game and we went out to win the game, but we didn't so we'll learn from it, look back, reflect and see how we can grow.
"Character is an important thing and it's something that can pull you through the tough times. Football is full of up and downs, but we're in a good place. We've got good lads, a good group and we'll keep pushing."
The Black Cats sit in seventh in the League One table - nine points off top spot and five points away from the automatic promotion spots.
Wright said that the Wearsiders were still focused on achieving promotion at the end of the season.
He said: "When you've got an opportunity to come to a club like this, the calibre and size of it, it's exciting. With that comes different challenges, different experiences - but the greater the challenge the greater the rewards.
"That's what you focus on, the big picture with the end goal always in sight. It's a tough road, and we know that and we're willing to do that.
"As a player, you feel responsible. When a manager loses his job it's because results haven't been at the expected level of those above, so you feel partly responsible for that, of course you do.
"We have a responsibility to go and win games and we go out there to try and do that. We've got a good, honest bunch who enjoyed working with the gaffer and obviously we're disappointed to see him go.
"But we've got a job we've still got to do here and we're very much focused on that and excited about that. We've got massive respect for the gaffer and disappointed to see him leave, but this is the nature of the industry we're in.
"It's fast-paced and you just have to be ready for anything. So for us, as players, we're focused on our end goal and are taking each game as it comes. We just have to crack on and maintain what we're trying to do - which is get promoted."
It's likely that Andrew Taylor will remain in charge of the Black Cats ahead of the game against Wigan Athletic, even if a new manager is appointed in time.
Wright said: "Tayls is someone who every single one of us has massive respect for.
"He's a good guy and he's been brilliant. Obviously things change so quickly and a lot of responsibility has come to him with a click of the fingers, but he's a driven, motivated type of guy - a leader - and he's stepped in to it.
"He's given us everything we needed to try and get a result. It wasn't to be, and we're gutted we couldn't quite get that result for him because it's been a tough few days and a lot of responsibility to take on.
"He's just taken it in his stride, as we all expected."