Chelsea sack manager Andre Villas-Boas
Villas-Boas was in charge at Stamford Bridge for less than a year
Sixth manager to be shown the door by Roman Abramovich
Roberto Di Matteo takes over until the end of the season
Chelsea sacked manager Andre Villas-Boas Sunday, citing poor results which threaten their participation in next season’s Champions League.
His final match proved to be Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion which left the Blues languishing in fifth place in the English Premier League.
Assistant coach and former Chelsea midfielder Roberto Di Matteo will take temporary charge until the end of the season.
A statement on the west London club’s official website confirmed the departure of Villas-Boas, less than a year after taking over from Carlo Ancelotti.
Blog: Abramovich was right sack AVB
The 34-year-old Portuguese is the sixth manager to be sacked by Chelsea’s Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.
Since he took control only Guus Hiddink, who was an interim appointment, left of his own volition.
Blog: Can English clubs catch their European rivals?
“Andre Villas-Boas has parted company with Chelsea Football Club today,” the statement read.
“The board would like to record our gratitude for his work and express our disappointment that the relationship has ended so early.
“Unfortunately the results and performances of the team have not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving at a key time in the season.
“The club is still competing in the latter stages of the Champions League and the FA Cup, as well as challenging for a top-four spot in the Premier League, and we aim to remain as competitive as possible on all fronts.
“With that in mind we felt our only option was to make a change at this time.
“With immediate effect Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed first team coach on an interim basis until the end of the season.”
The decision to install Di Matteo ends speculation that former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was to be given the job on a temporary basis.
Di Matteo faces a testing few weeks, with Chelsea hoping to overhaul a 3-1 first leg deficit to Napoli in their last 16 Champions League tie, an away trip to Birmingham in an FA Cup replay, while trying to improve their league position.
Villas-Boas came to Chelsea with a big reputation after guiding Porto to the Europa League title and comparisons were made between him and compatriot Jose Mourinho, who enjoyed such success at the club.
But results have been indifferent and his relationship with senior players such as Frank Lampard has come under the spotlight.