LONDON: Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo has been sacked after the European champions were left facing early elimination from the Champions League.
''Chelsea Football Club has parted company this morning with Manager Roberto Di Matteo,'' the club said following Tuesday's 3-0 defeat at Juventus.
Chelsea said the team's ''recent performances and results have not been good enough''.
Tuesday's loss in Turin means Chelsea could become the first ever Champions League winners to be knocked out in the group phase the following season.
Even victory at home to Danish minnows FC Nordsjaelland in their final group match might not be enough, as a draw between Juventus and Shakhtar Donetsk in the other Group D game would take both sides into the last 16.
Di Matteo was only appointed on a permanent basis in June, having led Chelsea to their first ever Champions League title after replacing Andre Villas-Boas in March.
Chelsea beat Bayern Munich on penalties in the Champions League final in May, two weeks after defeating Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup final.
''The owner and the Board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March,'' Chelsea said. ''The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager.''
Former Chelsea star Di Matteo, 42, is the seventh coach sacked by owner Roman Abramovich since the Russian billionaire bought the club in 2003.
Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is the favourite to succeed Di Matteo on a permanent basis. Pep Guardiola, the former Barcelona coach, and ex-Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp were also rumoured to be in the running.
Chelsea made a superb start to the season to lead the Premier League but a 3-2 controversial loss to Manchester United last month marked the start of a run of four games without a win.
Saturday's 2-1 loss at West Bromwich Albion, Di Matteo's former club, left Chelsea four points behind leaders Manchester City in third place.