Aston Villa have announced the sacking of head coach Dean Smith after five successive Premier League defeats.
Appointed in October 2018, Smith helped earn Villa promotion back to the Premier League in his first season in charge at the club.
However, in his third Premier League campaign with the club, a run of five straight losses – the last of which came at Southampton on Friday – has led the Villa hierarchy to make a change.
Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said: “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.
“The process of replacing Dean will now begin and the club will update supporters in due course.”
Villa narrowly avoided relegation in their first season back in the top flight, but there were signs of progression as they finished 11th the following campaign and reached the final of the Carabao Cup, where they were beaten by Manchester City.
Captain Jack Grealish left the club to join City in the summer, but Smith was given funds to rebuild his squad, with players including Emiliano Buendia, Danny Ings and Leon Bailey arriving at Villa Park.
Villa made a solid start to the season, with September’s win against Manchester United at Old Trafford propelling them into the top half of the table after six games.
However, the Old Trafford triumph proved to be Smith’s final victory at the club, with losses to Spurs, Wolves, Arsenal and West Ham preceding Friday’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton.
Purslow added: “When Dean joined us in October 2018 our team was really struggling in the Championship. He immediately transformed the atmosphere and performances and achieved the ultimate success of leading Villa back to the Premier League within the same season – a rare feat.
“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 – universally liked and respected by everybody associated with Aston Villa – our staff, players and supporters alike. We wish him the very best.”
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