Dean Smith has been sacked as manager of Aston Villa after five straight Premier League defeats, the club announced on Sunday.
Smith guided Villa back to the English top flight in 2019 but has paid the price for their disappointing form this season, with Friday’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton proving the last straw for club bosses.
The former European champions were 15th in the Premier League table ahead of Sunday’s matches after picking up just 10 points from their opening 11 games.
Smith’s departure comes the day after bottom club Norwich sacked their manager Daniel Farke.
Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said in a statement on the club’s website: “After a good start to last season, this year we have not seen the continuous improvement in results, performances and league position which we have all been looking for.
“For this reason we have decided to make a change now to allow time for a new head coach to make an impact.”
Former Brentford manager Smith, 50, took charge of Villa in October 2018 and led them to promotion via the play-offs in his first season.
The following campaign he kept them up and they reached the League Cup final, which they lost to Manchester City.
They finished 11th last season but lost star player Jack Grealish to City in the transfer window.
The club’s statement added: “The board would like to sincerely thank Dean for his many excellent achievements, on and off the pitch, during this time.
“Everyone knows how much Aston Villa means to Dean and his family. He has represented the club with distinction and dignity.”
Grealish tweeted: “No1 will ever compare, the real goat (greatest of all time).”
Smith is the fifth managerial casualty in the Premier League this season.