Chelsea have parted company with Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas, less than 24 hours after yesterday’s 1-0 Premier League defeat at West Bromwich Albion.
Chelsea say their former midfielder, Roberto di Matteo, will be in charge of the first team until the end of the season.
The defeat at West Brom leaves the Blues fifth in the table, three points behind north London rivals Arsenal. Only the top four clubs qualify for next year’s Champions League tournament’
The club face the prospect of elimination from this year’s Champions League the week after next after losing 3-1 to Italian club Napoli in the first round of their last 16 tie.
Villas-Boas was only appointed eight months ago, costing Chelsea FC’s billionaire owner Roman Abramovich £13.3m to prize from Portuguese club Porto.
A statement on the Chelsea website today reads: “Andre Villas-Boas has parted company with Chelsea Football Club today.
“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.”
Villas-Boas had been under mounting pressure after overseeing what threatens to be Chelsea’s worst season since Roman Abramovich took over in 2003.
Brought in to revamp an ageing squad, Villas-Boas’s reign was dogged by reports of dressing room unrest.
Having insisted that he had the owner’s full backing during the club’s recent poor run (they have won just five of their last 16 matches), Villas-Boas has recently appeared to acknowledge that his days were numbered at Chelsea.
Interviewed on a Portuguese radio station, he admitted for the first time that he might lose his job.
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