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The West Ham striker, who played a key role in the Hammers' victory on Saturday, has spoken of his shock and disappointment at the Italian's dismissal from his former club

West Ham striker Carlton Cole has expressed his shock and disappointment at Roman Abramovich's decision to sack former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo.

The 29-year-old played a pivotal role in the Hammers' victory against his former side on Saturday in what was Blues interim manager Rafael Benitez's first defeat at the club.

Cole scored the West Ham equaliser in the 63rd minute, planting a header past goalkeeper Petr Cech, before setting up the second from Mohamed Diame with Modibo Maiga sealing the three points for the Hammers in stoppage time.

The defeat was a major setback for the already unpopular Benitez, with fans in the away section singing Di Matteo's name throughout the game, and Cole admits that he can understand why the fans are confused and frustrated.

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"It's been strange," the striker told The Sun. "I know Robbie from my days at Chelsea. I know he's a nice guy.

"I thought he did extremely well and I wish him luck in whatever he does now because I know he's a great manager.

"He's done really well and won the Champions League with Chelsea. His tactics were spot-on against Barcelona in the semi-finals.

"He did England proud by bringing the trophy back to this country.

"Whatever happens he did brilliantly because he won the Champions League — and not many managers in the world can say that."

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