March 5, 2012 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
Andre Villas-Boas rose to prominence as the coach of Porto's all-conquering team last season. He guided his team to a league, domestic cup and Europa League treble, drawing comparisons with the club's former coach and current Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho.
Pride of Porto
- Chelsea sack manager Andre Villas-Boas
- Villas-Boas was in charge at Stamford Bridge for less than a year
- Sixth manager to be shown the door by Roman Abramovich
- Roberto Di Matteo takes over until the end of the season
His final match proved to be Saturday's 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion which left the Blues languishing in fifth place in the English Premier League.
Assistant coach and former Chelsea midfielder Roberto Di Matteo will take temporary charge until the end of the season.
A statement on the west London club's official website confirmed the departure of Villas-Boas, less than a year after taking over from Carlo Ancelotti.
Thomas: Abramovich was right sack AVB
The 34-year-old Portuguese is the sixth manager to be sacked by Chelsea's Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich.
Since he took control only Guus Hiddink, who was an interim appointment, left of his own volition.
"Andre Villas-Boas has parted company with Chelsea Football Club today," the statement read.
Results and performances of the team have not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving at a key time in the season
Chelsea FC statement
Chelsea FC statement
"Unfortunately the results and performances of the team have not been good enough and were showing no signs of improving at a key time in the season.
"The club is still competing in the latter stages of the Champions League and the FA Cup, as well as challenging for a top-four spot in the Premier League, and we aim to remain as competitive as possible on all fronts.
"With that in mind we felt our only option was to make a change at this time.
"With immediate effect Roberto Di Matteo has been appointed first team coach on an interim basis until the end of the season."
The decision to install Di Matteo ends speculation that former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was to be given the job on a temporary basis.
Di Matteo faces a testing few weeks, with Chelsea hoping to overhaul a 3-1 first leg deficit to Napoli in their last 16 Champions League tie, an away trip to Birmingham in an FA Cup replay, while trying to improve their league position.
Villas-Boas came to Chelsea with a big reputation after guiding Porto to the Europa League title and comparisons were made between him and compatriot Jose Mourinho, who enjoyed such success at the club.
But results have been indifferent and his relationship with senior players such as Frank Lampard has come under the spotlight.
March 5, 2012
Posted: 940 GMTThe sacking of Andre Villas-Boas proves that Chelsea is still a rich man's plaything but fans of the club should be grateful that owner Roman Abramovich is still paying attention to his footballing toy instead of leaving it, forgotten and unloved, at the bottom of the cupboard.
Forget talk of Abramovich shirking his long term project. He was right to ditch a manager who took the 2010 English Premier League champions, last season's runners-up, a club that's only been out of the top two once in the last nine seasons, and left them struggling to qualify for the UEFA Champions League after eight consecutive years in the competition.
Villas-Boas' oversaw just 19 wins in 40 games, giving him a win percentage of 47.5 per cent - the worst of any Chelsea manager in the Abramovich era.
Those bare statistics make it irrelevant whether or not Villas-Boas was the victim of dressing room militancy, senior players with a more direct line of communication to the owner than the manager himself.
Abramovich may have too many voices in his ear but, on this occasion, the whispering was correct.
The core of Chelsea's squad is ageing but remains strong and Villas-Boas tried to change too much too quickly, according to his predecessor at Stamford Bridge Carlo Ancelotti in a recent interview with CNN.
And before Ancelotti's comments are dismissed as sour grapes, remember the Italian has been a multiple league and European Cup winner as both a player and manager.
Villas-Boas wasn't a professional footballer and came to Chelsea after one hugely successful season with Porto - the club with the best resources in Portugal.
His former employers said the move had come too early in his career and I thought the same thing.
I'll admit I was impressed by his first news conference as Chelsea boss. I watched him last summer charm the entire media pack with his eloquent grasp of English and youthful exuberance.
It was echoes of 2004 when another brash, young Portugese coach breezed into Stamford Bridge but Villas-Boas has suffered by comparison.
Maybe Abramovich now realizes that only the original "Special One" will do. If Jose Mourinho's house hunting in London, just days before Villas-Boas' dismissal, was a coincidence - it's an extraordinary one.
Whoever the new manager is next season they will have money to spend. It's a myth to say Chelsea's owner has stopped investing in the squad.
He's parted with over $280 million in the last two seasons. That's the biggest two year spend on new players since he first bought the club.
Chelsea is still Abramovich's favourite football toy. He just needs to find the right playmate to share it with.