Steve Holland
Steve Holland paid tribute to Jose MourinhoPhoto by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Chelsea assistant first-team coach Steve Holland has claimed that the "supporters have a right to voice their opinion" after the unfriendly reception given to Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa during the 3-1 victory over Sunderland on Saturday (19 December). The Blues secured a comfortable win just days after the dismissal of Jose Mourinho thanks to goals from Branislav Ivanovic, Pedro and Oscar.

However, fans voiced their anger at the Spanish duo with boos during the game while also chanting their support for the sacked manager.

Holland said: "Clearly the supporters have a right to voice their opinion. It's been a difficult few days for everybody. I'll be happy to park this game and try and look forward.

"From my point of view thinking of this game I was happy with their contribution hence why I applauded them when they came off. I felt they deserved that for their performance."

Eden Hazard, who was also singled out by some fans through banners, missed the game after suffering an injury during Monday's defeat against Leicester City. Some had claimed that the Belgium international had faked the injury due to his bad relationship with Mourinho.

But Holland said: "He was injured and not available for selection so whatever the game he was not fit to play. He came out on Friday [in training], he tried and he lasted minutes. He was in too much discomfort and pain."

Meanwhile, Holland admitted that Mourinho's dismissal was sad for him and he praised the Portuguese boss not just for his technical contribution to the club during his reign, but also for his character.

"Jose and his coaching staff have all been fantastic to me, Jose particularly. On a day like Thursday it's particularly sad," he said. "Jose has invited me out for a meal next week. Our relationship is excellent. He would recognise I gave him everything and I would recognise that not only is he an exceptional coach but he's an exceptional person. It was a privilege and a pleasure to work with him."