Aston Villa have confirmed that they have parted company with head coach Dean Smith after five successive Premier League defeats.
Smith was appointed Villa boss just over three years ago and led the club back to the Premier League via the play-offs in his first season in charge. During that campaign he led the club to a club-record 10-match winning sequence.
The following season, he kept Villa in the top flight and also led them to the Carabao Cup final at Wembley, where they lost 2-1 to Manchester City.
This season has been a real struggle though, with Villa currently 15th in the table, two points from safety.
He won 55 and lost 56 of his 139 games in charge of the club.
Speaking to the club’s website, CEO Christian Purslow said: “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.
“He then secured our place in the Premier League after a tough campaign and took us to a Cup Final at Wembley.
“However, 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 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.”
Villa stated that the the process of replacing Smith will now begin.
Denmark boss linked with role
One manager who has been linked with the role is current Denmark Kasper Hjulmand.
He leapt to the attention of the footballing world when leading the Danes to the Euro 2020 semi-finals. And that was in the wake of the Christian Eriksen crisis which saw the ex-Tottenham midfielder collapse during a match with Finland.
They eventually lost 2-1 to England after extra-time in the last-four but the Red and White have maintained momentum.
Hjulmand has guided them to eight wins from eight in World Cup 2022 qualification. And they have yet to concede a goal, having scored 27.