Aston Villa have sacked head coach Dean Smith after five successive Premier League defeats.
Smith, who was appointed in October 2018, helped earn Villa promotion back to the Premier League in his first season in charge at the club. But he has now paid the price for their disappointing form this season.
The club were 15th in the Premier League table ahead of Sunday’s matches, following their 1-0 defeat at Southampton on Friday.
Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said in a statement on the club’s website: “This year we have not seen the continuous improvement in results, performances and league position which we have all been looking for.
“For this reason we have decided to make a change now to allow time for a new head coach to make an impact.”
“The process of replacing Dean will now begin and the club will update supporters in due course.”
Villa made a solid start to the season, with September’s win against Manchester United at Old Trafford propelling them into the top half of the table after six games.
However, the Old Trafford triumph proved to be Smith’s final victory at the club, with losses to Spurs, Wolves, Arsenal and West Ham preceding Friday’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton.
Purslow added: “When Dean joined us in October 2018 our team was really struggling in the Championship. He immediately transformed the atmosphere and performances and achieved the ultimate success of leading Villa back to the Premier League within the same season – a rare feat.
“The board would like to sincerely thank Dean for his many excellent achievements, on and off the pitch, during this time.
“Everyone knows how much Aston Villa means to Dean and his family. He has represented the club with distinction and dignity – universally liked and respected by everybody associated with Aston Villa – our staff, players and supporters alike. We wish him the very best.”
Smith is the fifth Premier League boss to lose his job this season, following Norwich’s sacking of Daniel Farke on Saturday.