Chelsea sacks Di Matteo

Chelsea confirmed Wednesday that it has sacked manager Roberto Di Matteo after a string of poor results in both Premier League and Champions League play.

Di Matteo guided the Blues to Champions League success last season, winning the competition against Bayern Munich on penalties in May. But with the club on the brink of a premature exit from the Champions League after dropping to third place in the Premier League, the board decided to take immediate action.

"Chelsea Football Club has parted company this morning with manager Roberto Di Matteo," the club said in a statement on Wednesday. "The team's recent performances and results have not been good enough and the owner and the board felt that a change was necessary now to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a vitally important part of the season.

"The club faces a difficult task ahead in qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League as well as maintaining a strong challenge for the top of the Premier League while competing in three other cup competitions. Our aim is to remain as competitive as possible and challenge strongly on all fronts."

Di Matteo took charge of Chelsea in March after the club had sacked Andre Villas-Boas. The Italian was hired on a temporary basis but was given the job permanently after helping the Blues win the Champions League and the FA Cup.

"The owner and the Board would like to thank Roberto for all he has done for the club since taking over in March," the statement continued. "Roberto helped guide us to an historic Champions League victory and a seventh FA Cup. We will never forget the huge contribution he has made to this club's history and he will always be welcome at Stamford Bridge.

"The club will be making an announcement shortly regarding a new first team manager."