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Chelsea sacks Villas-Boas after less than season

Updated: 2012-03-05 13:59
( Agencies)

* Villas-Boas shown the door after less than nine months

Chelsea sacks Villas-Boas after less than season

Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas holds up a Chelsea soccer shirt before a news conference after he joined the team at Stamford Bridge in London in a June 29, 2011 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - Andre Villas-Boas's tortured spell as Chelsea manager came to an end on Sunday when the Premier League club sacked the Portuguese after less than nine months in charge.

The London club handed over first-team duties to assistant manager Roberto di Matteo for the remainder of a season that is in danger of becoming the worst since Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003.

Speculation over the future of Villas Boas, at 34 the youngest manager in the league this season, had been swirling in the British media for weeks after a series of poor results and reports of rifts with senior players.

The dismissal of the man often referred to simply by his initials "AVB" came after Saturday's 1-0 league loss to West Bromwich Albion, their seventh league defeat of the season and a dreadful performance all round.

"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 London club said in a statement on their website (www.chelseafc.com).

The Stamford Bridge outfit have won three of their last 12 Premier League games and are in danger of missing out on qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since Russian billionaire Abramovich bought the club.

They are trailing 3-1 in their round-of-16 Champions League tie against Napoli ahead of the March 14 second leg, while they sit fifth in the Premier League table with 46 points from 27 games.

"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," the statement said.

"With that in mind we felt our only option was to make a change at this time."

Chelsea sacks Villas-Boas after less than season

Chelsea's manager Andre Villas-Boas waves as he arrives at the pitch for a training session ahead of a friendly match against Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur in a July 19, 2011 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

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