Chelsea have sacked head coach Frank Lampard after 18 months in charge.
Former Chelsea midfielder Lampard, 42, leaves with the club ninth in the Premier League table after last week’s defeat at Leicester City, having won once in their past five league matches.
His final game in charge was Sunday’s 3-1 FA Cup fourth round win against Championship side Luton.
Lampard was appointed on a three-year contract when he replaced Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge in July 2019.
He guided them to fourth place and the FA Cup final in his first season in charge, but the Blues have now suffered as many defeats in their past eight league games as they had in their previous 23.
In a statement, Chelsea said: “This has been a very difficult decision, and not one that the owner and the board have taken lightly.
“We are grateful to Frank for what he has achieved in his time as head coach of the club. However, recent results and performances have not met the club’s expectations, leaving the club mid-table without any clear path to sustained improvement.
“There can never be a good time to part ways with a club legend such as Frank, but after lengthy deliberation and consideration it was decided a change is needed now to give the club time to improve performances and results this season.”
Owner Roman Abramovich said Lampard’s status as an “important icon” of the club “remains undiminished” despite his dismissal.
“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” said Abramovich.
“He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.”
Lampard did not sign a single player during his first season as the club were operating under a transfer embargo, but spent more than £200m on seven major signings last summer, including £45m on Leicester’s Ben Chilwell and £71m on midfielder Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen.
It is the most Chelsea have spent in one summer, eclipsing the £186m they invested at the start of the 2017-18 season.
The 42-year-old achieved a top-four finish last season, which was deemed impressive having taken over when the club were under a transfer ban.
It hasn’t worked, with Timo Werner and Kai Havertz suffering prolonged periods of poor form under their new manager while Chelsea’s performances as a team were increasingly getting worse.
Club chairman Bruce Buck watched on with technical and performance advisor Petr Cech as Leicester City ran out comfortable 2-0 winners against Lampard’s side in their most recent league fixture.
The loss to Brendan Rodgers’ men was just the latest of a series of defeats against the Premier League’s best teams, which recently included reverses against Manchester City and Arsenal.
Chelsea have only beaten West Ham of the top 11 clubs this season, while picking up the second-lowest number of points at this stage of a season since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.
Lampard earned 1.67 points per match in the league, which is the lowest of any manager appointed since Abramovich bought Chelsea.