Dean Smith has been relieved of his duties as Aston Villa manager following the club's fifth successive Premier League defeat, against Southampton on Friday night.
Former Brentford boss Smith took charge of Villa in October 2018 and led the club to promotion via the play-offs at the end of that season.
He has since kept the team in the top flight and also took Villa to the 2020 Carabao Cup final, where they lost to Manchester City, but has paid the price for a woeful run of form.
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The high point of Smith's reign arguably came during an encouraging start to the 2020-21 Premier League season, when he masterminded a 7-2 win against Liverpool at Villa Park.
However, he has been unable to build on that and has come under increasing scrutiny following a wretched run of results since a 1-0 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 25 September.
Villa have lost each of their five subsequent league games, a run that included home defeats to Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United.
Friday's 1-0 reverse at Southampton leaves the club 15th in the Premier League, having conceded 20 goals in 11 matches. Only Newcastle United and Norwich City have worse defensive records this season.
“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," Villa CEO Christian Purslow said.
“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.”
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