The tenure of Andre Villas-Boas as manager of Chelsea has come to end, the English football club announced after a heartbreaking loss this weekend.
The announcement, posted on the team website on Sunday, cites the reason for the firing as “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 Portuguese manager has come under scrutiny of late. Villas-Boas's final game in charge was Saturday's 1-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion which was the team’s ninth in 12 games and regarded as “a big disappointment” by Villas-Boas and left Chelsea mired in fifth place, three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal and two up on Newcastle, in the Barclays Premier League table.
Thirty-three year old Villas-Boas was hired as Chelsea manager in June 2011, returning to the team where he had previously worked as a scout under Jose Mourinho. His time at Chelsea was dotted with ups and downs. Villas-Boas leaves Chelsea with a record of 19 wins, 11 draws and 10 defeats in 40 Barclays Premier League games.
Chelsea is still in the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Champions League and the English FA Cup, but the club has a tough battle head in both competitions. In the FA Cup, a home draw at Stamford Bridge was regarded by many as a poor result and Chelsea will face Birmingham again in a fifth-round replay match on Tuesday, March 6. A week later, Chelsea must overcome a 3-1 defeat to Napoli in the first leg of the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League in Italy with the return leg at home in London, on March 13.
“We aim to remain as competitive as possible on all fronts,” the release states. “With that in mind we felt our only option was to make a change at this time.”
Roberto Di Matteo assumes the reigns of the club on an interim basis until the end of the season. Forty-one year old Di Matteo is no stranger to Stamford Bridge, where he was serving as an assistant to Villas-Boas. He also played for Chelsea from 1996-2002. He won two FA Cups with the team and holds the record for the fastest goal in an FA Cup final, having scored within 42 seconds of the opening whistle in the 1997 championship game against Middlesbrough at the old Wembley Stadium.