Following a string of losses that culminated in a 1-0 defeat to underdogs West Bromwich Albion on Saturday (March 3), Chelsea have parted ways with manager Andre Villas-Boas, bringing an end to his short eight-month position as Blues boss.
A statement from the club concerning their decision read: "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."
Chelsea's losing streak has seen them drop to fifth in the League table, behind rivals Arsenal. AVB will be temporarily replaced by his assistant Robert Di Matteo until a replacement manager is found.
Club owner Roman Abramovich paid out £13.3million to Porto last June in order to buy out AVB's contract with them, with AVB then beginning a three-year deal with the London club worth £90,000 a week. Abramovich will now have to pay out a further £11million in order to remove him from the club.
Prior to his firing AVB frequently insisted that he had Abramovich's full backing, but a recent interview with a Portugese radio station saw him admit for the first time that his relations with the owner were uneasy and his position at the club was uncertain: "Will this result increase pressure on me? You have to agree with it. We are in the same position, fifth, but we are now three points behind Arsenal," he said.
"It is a big, big disappointment. Every defeat Chelsea suffers piles more pressure on any manager."
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