Birmingham - Roberto Di Matteo was sacked by Aston Villa on Monday after
just 12 matches in charge of the troubled Championship club.
Di Matteo was hired by Villa's new Chinese owner Tony Xia in
June and the former Chelsea boss was expected to lead his side into the Premier
Villa are playing in the second tier for the first time
since 1988 following last season's relegation, but they have struggled to show
any improvement under Di Matteo despite splashing out on several expensive new
Saturday's woeful 2-0 defeat at Preston, which ended with
Villa booed off by their furious fans, proved the final straw and 48 hours
later the Italian's 124-day reign was over.
"Aston Villa Football Club has today parted company
with manager Roberto Di Matteo," a statement read.
"The club decided to act following a run of disappointing
results which has left the team occupying 19th position in the Championship.
"The club would like to place on record its
appreciation to Roberto for all his efforts in helping rebuild the squad and
wish him well for the future."
Di Matteo won only one of his 11 Championship fixtures,
while also crashing out of the League Cup against fourth tier Luton.
The 46-year-old leaves with Villa languishing just two
points above the relegation zone in 19th place after a nine-match winless run.
He made nine signings for a net spend of $43 million,
including Ross McCormack and Jonathan Kodjia, but the highly-priced strikers
have scored just three goals between them.
Di Matteo's reign is the shortest of any permanent Villa
boss in the club's history and they are now looking for their fifth full-time
manager since February 2014.
"A difficult decision 4 the board. But rather sooner
than later we'd make the decision. All need learn¬ repeat mistakes
again&again," Xia wrote on Twitter after the announcement.
Steve Clarke will take over as Villa's caretaker manager
while the club, already 15 points behind leaders Huddersfield, begin their
search for a replacement during the international break.
Former Hull boss Steve Bruce, Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy
and Brentford chief Dean Smith are among the early contenders to succeed Di