Inter fire Frank De Boer
Inter Milan fired coach Frank de Boer yesterday after winning only four of the team's opening 11 matches, leaving the club in 12th place.
Youth squad coach Stefano Vecchi was given temporary control of the senior team for tomorrow's Europa League match at Southampton.
Former Chievo Verona, Bologna and Lazio coach Stefano Pioli is the leading candidate to take over permanently for De Boer. Andrea Villas-Boas, Marcelo Bielsa, Leonardo, Laurent Blanc and Francesco Guidolin have also been mentioned as possible replacements.
De Boer, a Dutchman who had never played or coached in Italy, was hired less than two weeks before the season began after Roberto Mancini resigned unexpectedly amid a reported lack of communication with the club's new owners, the Chinese retail giant Suning.
"Inter would like to place on record its thanks to Frank and his coaching team for their work with the club over the past months and wishes them the best for the future," the club said in a statement. "Further announcements regarding the first team coaching position will be made in due course."
Inter has won only one of its last six matches, and appeared thoroughly confused in a 1-0 loss at Sampdoria on Sunday. Inter is 13 points behind Serie A leader Juventus and has 10 fewer points than at this stage last season, when it stood second and appeared to be a genuine challenger to Juventus.
The team also lost two of three Europa League games under De Boer.
The lone highlight of De Boer's campaign was a 2-1 win over Juventus in September.
Inter's next coach will become the team's ninth since Jose Mourinho led the club to a treble in 2010. The others were: Rafa Benitez, Leonardo, Gian Piero Gasperini, Claudio Ranieri, Andrea Stramaccioni, Walter Mazzarri, Mancini and De Boer.
In June, Suning took control of 70 percent of Inter. Erick Thohir, the Indonesian entrepreneur who purchased Inter from the Moratti family three years ago, retained 30 percent of the ownership and is still club president.
Marco Tronchetti Provera, the CEO of Inter's chief sponsor Pirelli, on Monday pointed to the lack of leadership at Inter as the chief cause of the team's struggles.
"Even an extraordinary coach can't do great things without the club. You can't control a football squad from Jakarta, Beijing or Nanjing," Tronchetti Provera said. "There's been a long line of mistakes . ... This is a problem that should have been resolved a while ago."
Dutch coach Frank de Boer