LONDON • Tim Sherwood was sacked as Aston Villa manager yesterday - less than 24 hours after a 1-2 defeat by Swansea that left his side languishing in the Premier League relegation zone.
Sherwood had been under increasing pressure during Villa's dismal run and Saturday's sixth consecutive league defeat proved the final straw for the club's owner Randy Lerner.
American tycoon Lerner is reported to have held extensive talks with Villa's chief executive Tom Fox following the Swansea defeat and they felt the only solution to the team's troubles was to axe Sherwood after just eight months in charge.
The former midfielder now has the unwanted record of having served the shortest spell of any permanent Villa manager.
"Aston Villa Football Club has parted company with manager Tim Sherwood today," a statement on Villa's website read. "The board has monitored the performances closely all season and believes the results on the pitch were simply not good enough and that a change is imperative."
Villa's assistant manager Ray Wilkins, first-team coach Mark Robson and performance analyst Seamus Brady have also left with immediate effect.
Kevin MacDonald, who had been coaching Villa's Under-21 squad, takes over as interim manager while Lerner searches for a permanent replacement for Sherwood.
Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and Real Sociedad manager David Moyes are among the favourites to replace the 46-year-old, who signed 13 players in the summer.
Sherwood initially made a positive impact at Villa after replacing Paul Lambert on a 31/2-year contract in February.
He led the team away from the relegation zone and masterminded their run to the FA Cup final. But this term, Villa failed to register a league win after a narrow opening day victory at Bournemouth.
Despite taking a 62nd-minute lead through Jordan Ayew at home, Villa fell to Swansea. Goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Andre Ayew, Jordan's elder brother, enabled Swansea to snap their own winless run at five games.
The result left Villa second bottom of the table and four points from safety.