Roberto di Matteo has been sacked as Chelsea manager less than 24 hours after their Champions League defeat to Juventus.
Twenty-six weeks and four days after the Italian sealed an FA Cup and Champions League double the Blues have decided a "change was necessary" after four Premier League matches without a win and with the club on the brink of elimination from Europe.
Chelsea Football Club has parted company this morning with Manager Roberto Di Matteo.
The team's recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the Board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.
The club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as well as maintaining a strong challenge for the top of the Premier League while competing in three other cup competitions. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all fronts.
The owner and the Board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March. Roberto helped guide us to an historic Champions League victory and a seventh FA Cup. We will never forget the huge contribution he has made to this club's history and he will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.
The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager.
Di Matteo lasted less than André Villas-Boas
Di Matteo becomes the sixth full-time Chelsea manager to have been sacked since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003, with his final game last night's 3-0 loss to Juve.
The 42-year-old lasted one week less than his predecessor André Villas-Boas, who won half of his 40 games in charge before he was fired in March.
Di Matteo oversaw Chelsea's round-of-16 comeback from a 3-1 deficit in their first leg away to Napoli to progress, via a memorable 2-2 draw against Barcelona, to the club's second Champions League final in May.
The Blues defeated Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties a week after they beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final.
He signed a two-year contract with the club in the summer after his memorable stint as caretaker coach and Chelsea spent £79.5m on Marko Marin, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Victor Moses and César Azpilicueta as Abramovich pursued his obsession for his adopted club to conquer Europe playing vibrant football.
A month ago the Blues were top of the Premier League and unbeaten after a superb 4-2 victory at Tottenham Hotspur but their run was ended eight days later at home to Manchester United.
Two hours after the game Chelsea reported referee Mark Clattenburg for using "inappropriate language" towards two players. Although they dropped their complaint that the official had abused Juan Mata, they are awaiting to hear the verdict on allegations Clattenburg labelled John Obi Mikel a 'monkey'.
Di Matteo gets flustered as Chelsea are beaten by United
Since the United loss the Blues have won just two games - against the Red Devils in the League Cup and at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League - in a run which has heralded Di Matteo's departure.
Former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola would be Abramovich's preferred appointment, but the Spaniard has stated he has no desire to resume his managerial career until next year.
Guardiola also met Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, chief executive David Gill and a member of the Glazer family - the club's owners - in New York in September. Ferguson is believed to favour the Spaniard as his successor, which could intensify the competition between the clubs next summer if the Scot retires.
Former Chelsea caretaker Avram Grant, who guided the club to the League Cup and Champions League finals in 2008, and former Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez have both been mooted as possible interim coaches.
Chelsea must take three points against Nordsjaelland in their final Champions League group match and hope Shakhtar win at home to Juve to stand a chance of progressing to the knockout phase of the competition.
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