Dean Smith has been sacked as the manager of Aston Villa, the Premier League club have announced.
Smith, who guided the club back to the top flight, has paid the price for the team's disappointing form this season with Villa having lost their last five games.
Friday's 1-0 defeat at Southampton proved the last act for Smith, that result leaving Villa with just 10 points from their opening 11 games.
Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said in a statement on the club's website: "This year we have not seen the continuous improvement in results, performances and league position which we have all been looking for.
"For this reason we have decided to make a change now to allow time for a new head coach to make an impact."
Smith becomes the fifth Premier League managerial casualty of the season after Xisco Munoz (Watford), Steve Bruce (Newcastle), Nuno Espirito Sancho (Tottenham) and Farke.
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, who knows former Liverpool director Purslow from his time at Anfield, has already been tipped as a potential successor at Villa Park.
Smith, a lifelong Villa fan, had been in charge for three years. The former Brentford boss took over with the club 15th in the Championship in October 2018.8.
He led the club to promotion via the play-offs in his first season and he then went on to keep them in the Premier League, and reach the Carabao Cup final, the following year.
They finished 11th last season but lost star player Jack Grealish to Manchester City in the summer.
Grealish reacted to the news by tweeting: "No1 will ever compare, the real goat (greatest of all time)."
Current Villa right-back Matty Cash tweeted: "You brought me to this great football club, I will forever be grateful. Thank you for everything gaffa."
Fellow defender Ezri Konsa added: "Been an absolute pleasure, thank you for everything!"