Football: Sunderland sack manager Poyet with Premier League relegation looming

LONDON (REUTERS) - Sunderland parted company with manager Gus Poyet on Monday with the club facing a battle for Premier League survival after a crushing 4-0 home defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday.

Sunderland are 17th in the 20-team league with 26 points, one place and one point above the relegation zone with only nine matches left to play. They have won only one of their last 12 league games.

"I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season's 'great escape' and cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan," chairman Ellis Short said in a statement on the club website.

"Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season and we find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed."

The 47-year-old Poyet, who had been in charge at the Stadium of Light for 75 matches since October 2013, saved the Black Cats from relegation last season when they won four of their last five games to escape from the bottom three and finish 14th.