Villas-Boas sacked by Chelsea
Andre Villas-Boas has been sacked as Chelsea manager after just eight months in the job, with Roberto Di Matteo set to act as interim boss for the rest of the season.
Chelsea confirmed in a statement on the club website that they and the Portuguese had "parted company".
Villas-Boas was only appointed in June 2011 and cost billionaire owner Roman Abramovich £13.3million from Porto.
The club statement read: "Andre Villas-Boas has parted company with Chelsea Football Club today.
"The board would like to record our gratitude for his work and express our disappointment that the relationship has ended so early.
"Unfortunately 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 club is still competing in the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup, as well as challenging for a top-four spot in the Premier League, and we aim to remain as competitive as possible on all fronts.
"With that in mind, we felt our only option was to make a change at this time.
"With immediate effect, Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed first-team coach on an interim basis until the end of the season."
Di Matteo's appointment appears to end speculation that former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez would be parachuted into Stamford Bridge until the summer.
Villas-Boas had been under mounting pressure after overseeing what was threatening to be Chelsea's worst season since Abramovich bought the club almost nine years ago.
A run of just five wins from the last 16 games saw the Blues slide out of the top four, while they remain in real danger of crashing out of both the Champions League and FA Cup in the next week and a half.
Brought in to revamp an ageing squad after winning an incredible quadruple at Porto last season, Villas-Boas' reign was dogged by reports of the kind of dressing-room unrest that previous Chelsea managers have said led to their own downfall.
Abramovich, who reportedly hand-picked Villas-Boas last summer when Guus Hiddink had been the favourite to succeed Carlo Ancelotti, appeared prepared to be more patient with the 34-year-old than previous bosses.
The Russian seemingly recognised the difficulties in overhauling the squad and the playing style at Stamford Bridge.
But, as when Luiz Felipe Scolari was sacked three years ago, it was fear of not qualifying for the Champions League that prompted Abramovich to act.
Having repeatedly insisted he had the owner's full backing during the recent run, Villas-Boas appeared to acknowledge the writing may be on the wall recently.
An interview with a Portuguese radio station saw him admit for the first time he could lose his job, a possibility he refused to shy away from after yesterday's defeat at the Hawthorns.
He said: "Will this result increase pressure on me? You have to agree with it. We are in the same position, fifth, but we are now three points behind Arsenal.
"It is a big, big disappointment. Every defeat Chelsea suffers piles more pressure on any manager."
Villas-Boas insisted it would not help his position being given public backing from Abramovich.
He said: "I don't think so. There is no need for the owner to back us after such a poor display."
Villas-Boas, who on Friday insisted he would "never" quit Chelsea, added: "Am I the right man for the job? Yes. I wouldn't have taken it if I didn't think that."
Di Matteo's first game in charge will be Tuesday's FA Cup fifth-round replay at Birmingham.
Andre Villas-Boas Factfile
1977: Born in Porto on October 17.
1993: Invited to work as a trainee with FC Porto's youth-team coaches by manager Sir Bobby Robson.
1994: Achieves UEFA C coaching licence in Scotland.
2000: Takes charge of the British Virgin Islands for two international matches. Both end in defeat.
2002: Becomes part of Jose Mourinho's backroom staff at Porto.
2004: Follows Mourinho to Chelsea, where he works as an opposition scout.
2008: Moves with Mourinho to Inter Milan.
2009: Appointed manager of Academica in October, with the club bottom of the table and without a win. Villas-Boas guides them to an 11th-place finish and a Portuguese League Cup semi-final.
2010: June 2 - Appointed manager of boyhood club Porto.
August 7 - Wins Portuguese Supercup with 2-0 victory over Benfica.
2011: April 3 - Leads Porto to their 25th league title, finishing with their biggest ever winning margin of 21 points.
May 18 - Porto win the Europa League with a 1-0 triumph over fellow Portuguese side Braga.
May 22 - Guides Porto to a trophy treble with a comprehensive 6-2 win over Vitoria de Guimaraes in Portuguese Cup final.
June 21 - Porto confirm Villas-Boas has tendered his resignation and his contract will be terminated once his 15million euros release clause has been paid.
Porto later announce they have received the required compensation, with Chelsea releasing a short statement confirming their interest in Villas-Boas and their intention to agree personal terms in the near future.
June 22 - Appointed Chelsea manager on a three-year contract.
June 30 - Wins first piece of silverware as Chelsea manager, taking the Barclays Asia Trophy.
August 14 - Draws first match of the Premier League season 0-0 away at Stoke.
September 18- Suffers first defeat of the season with a 3-1 loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
December 12 - Chelsea become first team to in 2011/2012 season to defeat Manchester City coming from behind with goals from Raul Meireles and a late penalty by Frank Lampard.
February 21- Leaves Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Michael Essien out of the team as Chelsea fall to a 3-1 defeat in their first leg Champions League tie with Napoli. Chelsea now have a record of one win in the last 7 games and is under pressure at the club from fans and players alike with Ashley Cole in particular criticising his tactics.
March 4 - Leaves Chelsea a day after a 1-0 defeat at West Brom.