Aston Villa have sacked manager Dean Smith after their defeat by Southampton on Friday, which leaves them 15th in the Premier League table.
Smith took over as Villa manager in 2018 and led the club out of the Championship and into the Premier League. They finished 11th last season but are currently 18th in the league table after their fifth straight loss against Southampton.
Villa CEO Christian Purslow said in a statement: ‘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.
‘He then secured our place in the Premier League after a tough campaign and took us to a Cup Final at Wembley.
‘However, after a good start to last season, 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 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.’
Sportsmail said that Rangers boss and Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard is high on Aston Villa’s list of possible targets.