LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea would not be fifth from bottom in the Premier League if Alex Ferguson had been in charge, said former Stamford Bridge favourite Alan Hudson upon hearing the news that Jose Mourinho was fired on Thursday.
Hudson, who was born a stone's throw from the ground and featured in 189 games for the Londoners in two playing spells between 1968-74 and 1983-84, blamed champions Chelsea's woeful form this season on their outspoken Portuguese coach.
"I played the game for 20 years and I always responded to my managers," the former England midfielder told Reuters in an interview. "If I didn't get on with my manager I didn't give my best.
"What's happened to Chelsea this season wouldn't have happened under Ferguson. Manchester United would never have been fifth from bottom while he was in charge there because he would have cracked the whip.
"All these multi-millionaire footballers these days are financially on the same level as their managers but it wouldn't have mattered how many big flash cars the players had in their car parks, United would never have been fifth from bottom by Christmas like Chelsea are today."
Hudson, a gifted midfield playmaker in his day who also had spells with Arsenal, Stoke City and Seattle Sounders, said Mourinho's style was different to Ferguson's.
"I don't think Mourinho is a manager who cracks the whip," the 64-year-old added.
"He works in a totally different way to Ferguson, he's not a hairdryer man," said Hudson, referring to the way the Scot used to bawl out his players at close proximity.
"Mourinho is a man who motivates people by putting his arm around a shoulder, for instance when he once told Frank Lampard he was the best midfielder in the world.
"At the end of the day, whether you've played in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s like I did, or you play in the modern era, it's all down to the manager."
Hudson, who helped Chelsea win the 1970 FA Cup and the 1971 European Cup Winners' Cup, now spends much of his time writing books and he believes Mourinho has been looking all season for an end to his second chapter at Stamford Bridge.
"I'm not surprised at all that he's gone," said Hudson. "Everyone seems to be shocked -- I'm not.
"It was always going to happen. He and Roman Abramovich have been playing cat and mouse all season," he added, suggesting the
manager and the owner were each waiting for the other to make the first move in breaking their alliance.
"This has been going on too long. Mourinho went 77 league games at Chelsea without defeat at home and now all of a sudden he's been beaten four times at home this season.
"He wanted out, in my opinion. He's been after the sack for a long time now."
Sunderland are Chelsea's next opponents at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and Hudson believes Mourinho ultimately lost the support of his players, despite having won the title three times in his two stints at the club.
"In my eyes a great manager sticks by his players," he said. "When he got success in his first spell at Chelsea he always stuck by his players, he's not doing that any more.
"He's lost face with his players and that tells you it was over for him. I don't think you need to be an ex-player or someone in the media to know you can't win the league last year and with the exact same team be fifth from bottom this season.
"Something is clearly terribly wrong and a lesser manager than Mourinho would have been sacked by Chelsea two months ago. Managers depend on results and his results haven't been good enough."
The Portuguese signed a new four-year contract at the start of the season but Hudson said his brief previous stints at Porto, Inter Milan and Chelsea hinted that an early parting of the ways at Chelsea was always inevitable.
"His past record shows he doesn't stay at one club too long," the 64-year-old explained.
"I just think he's one of those people who goes around the world. He'll always have a residence in Chelsea and people at the club will always love him but I think he'll probably go to France soon and work for Paris St Germain."
Editing by Toby Davis