PAUL Clement and the Reading FC players had no idea of his impending dismissal when they arrived for work this morning.
Clemens departure was confirmed around 10 clock in the morning, as the squad prepared for the training.
The 46-year-old delivered the message in person before wishing his players luck for the rest of the season.
And striker Marc McNulty admitted that nobody was prepared for the news.
"It was a shock," he said. "The boys have changed clothes as usual and are ready for training when a meeting is called.
"We thought it would have something to do with the Sheffield United game on Saturday, but the manager had a quick talk, as I say, it was a surprise."
Regarding Clement's farewell speech, he revealed, "To be honest, it was not too long, it was short and sharp, the manager was as surprised as the players.
"We did not see it coming.
"He wished us good luck. He thought the performances were getting better and starting to spin a bit.
"But obviously he is not here anymore, so he wishes us good luck for the future."
Former Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce is the current bookmaker's 9/2 favorite, replacing Clement with ex-skipper Phil Parkinson (5/1) and Carlos Carvalhal (6/1).
Ex-Reading captain Graeme Murty is 15/2 ahead of Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth and former Fulham coach Slavisa Jokanovic (both 10/1), followed by Francesco Guidolin (14/1) and Alan Pardew (14/1). Nigel Pearson (16/1) and Chris Coleman (20/1).
Steve Bruce is the bookie's favorite.
Clement replaced Jaap Stam in March and held Reading in the championship's last eight games of the season.
After a worrying start to the current campaign, he was released this morning from his duties.
The Royals have won only four league games in 20 games, are 21st in the table and only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
His Royals winning rate (23.3%) was the lowest in the game compared to 42.4% for the Derby and 34.1% for Swansea, the other two clubs he has made.
McNulty, who scored Royals' first goal in a 2-2 draw against Stoke last weekend, believes the results were bad.
"We know the results were not good enough, and we'll never shy away from that because it's real," said the 26-year-old Scot. "It's up to us to change that on the pitch and make more profits.
"The team can do well in the championship and we showed it against some opponents, but with this inconsistency we are not playing the next game well. But I am more than confident that we will be fine. "
Clement had begun to prepare his team for the fight against the Blades this weekend before Reading decided enough was enough.
Confirmation of his dismissal came just hours after Nigel Howe was re-installed as CEO to replace Ron Gourlay.
Paul Clement was struck this morning after 30 games as a Reading Manager.
McNulty insists, however, that players keep a clear head and focus on the field.
"We've been in the game long enough to have gone through it before, so you do not personally affect it," he said.
"You know a new man is coming, so you have to be there to stay in the team.
"Of course it's disappointing, it's not nice to see someone lose their job. But you focus on yourself and make sure you are in the team. "
"We were too inconsistent, but I definitely think we have the players to be a consistent team."
Royals confirmed that Scott Marshall, whose U-23 players are undefeated in 14 games and at the top of the table, will take on the role of interim head of agency alongside vice-manager Nigel Gibbs.
Both will be responsible for visiting Sheffield United this Saturday.
McNulty continued, "The manager usually does his analysis the day before the match, so we did not make it.
"At the beginning of the week, however, we worked with Sheffield United along with the manager in the training area.
"Scott has taken the helm and I think he will continue the manager's work.
"Gibbo (Nigel Gibbs) and Gilkesy (Michael Gilkes, first-team coaches) will work with the manager to come up with his ideas for the weekend.
"I think they will help Scott with team selection and tactics."