Trou­bled Villa sack Di Mat­teo

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

ROBERTO DI MAT­TEO was sacked by As­ton Villa yes­ter­day 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 League. 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 i mprove­ment un­der Di Mat­teo de­spite splash­ing out on sev­eral ex­pen­sive new sign­ings.

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 help- ing 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.

Steve Clarke will take over as Villa’s care­taker man­ager while the club 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 Mat­teo. – AFP

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