Chelsea announced that they have parted company with Andre Villas-Boas after a string of poor results, with his assistant Roberto Di Matteo set to take charge until the end of the season.
The Blues suffered a 1-0 away loss to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, a result that leaves the club three points behind Arsenal who occupy the final Champions League position.
Despite making a solid start to the season, Chelsea have struggled of late and have only picked up three league wins in their last 12 games, while they are on the verge of a Champions League exit, trailing Napoli 3-1 after the first leg.
The west London club released a statement on their official website confirming the decision to remove the Portuguese trainer from his position.
"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.
"The club is still competing in the latter stages of the Uefa 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."
Andre Villas-Boas was appointed Chelsea manager in June 2011, the third youngest in the club's history at 33 years of age. He returned to a club where he had worked as opposition scout under Jose Mourinho, the first Chelsea had in that role full-time.
The first competitive game under Villas-Boas's management was a 0-0 draw at Stoke City in the league, followed by four straight wins including a solid start in the Champions League group stage with a home victory against Bundesliga runners-up Bayer Leverkusen.
The first defeat came in the next game, at Old Trafford on an afternoon of expansive football but contentious decisions by the match officials. The response to that result was good with big league wins over Swansea, Bolton and Everton and a dominant performance in a tricky match away in Valencia when a good goalkeeping display denied Chelsea taking all three Champions League points.
We were in third place in the Barclays Premier League when Arsenal inflicted the first home defeat of the season at the end of October, which came on the back of a loss away at QPR on a day when two Chelsea players were sent off.
November brought two more home defeats, both against Liverpool, one in the league and one in the Carling Cup, and the Blues took the lead in two away Champions League matches during the month but came away with just one point.
December was a month of two halves, Villas-Boas enjoying three straight wins at the start of it, including a 3-0 win at home to Valencia that qualified the team for the knockout stage of the Champions League as group winners, and a heartening home win over pacesetters Manchester City having come from behind. Those two games are highlights of his time in charge.
However three draws and a defeat followed, although the performance was good in a 1-1 draw at Spurs. A poor day at the Bridge against Aston Villa, which saw the Blues drop outside the top four as 2011 became 2012. Clean sheets were proving elusive.
The January transfer window saw the departures of Nicolas Anelka and Alex and the arrival of Gary Cahill. Juan Mata, Raul Meireles, Oriol Romeu and Romelu Lukaku had been additions to the squad prior to the season commencing.
An unbeaten January brought FA Cup progress and eight out of a possible 12 league points, with late goals benefitting Chelsea, but then February began with a body blow as Manchester United came back from a 3-0 deficit to draw at the Bridge.
The following five games yielded just one win, at home to Bolton, and included a home FA Cup draw against Championship Birmingham and a 3-1 defeat away to Napoli in the Champions League that leaves plenty of work to do to stay in both competitions.
Villas-Boas's final game in charge was Saturday's 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion which left Chelsea three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal in the Premier League table. It was a display that he labelled as a big disappointment.
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