London: Chelsea sacked Carlo Ancelotti as manager, a year after he led them to the League and FA Cup double in his first season in charge.
Chelsea completed a disappointing campaign with a 1-0 Premier League defeat at 10-man Everton to finish second in the standings, nine points behind champions Manchester United and ahead of Manchester City only on goal difference.
Two hours later the club issued a statement on their website.
"Chelsea Football Club can confirm that Carlo Ancelotti parted company with the club today," it said.
"The owner and board would like to thank Carlo for his contribution and achievements since taking over as manager in July 2009, which included winning the Double for the first time in the club`s history.”
"However, this season`s performances have fallen short of expectations and the club feels the time is right to make this change ahead of next season`s preparations.”
"Chelsea`s long-term football objectives and ambitions remain unchanged and we will now be concentrating all our efforts on identifying a new manager."
A year ago Italian Ancelotti signed off his first Premier League season in charge with an 8-0 thrashing of Wigan Athletic to clinch the title in style. Chelsea then added the FA Cup with a 1-0 final victory over Portsmouth.
They made a flying start again this season but went off the boil and eventually fell away on all fronts.
Ancelotti`s fate was probably sealed when Chelsea lost to Manchester United in the Champions League quarter-finals, the competition that Russian owner Roman Abramovich desperately wants to win.
Not even the arrival of Spanish striker Fernando Torres for a record 50 million pounds in January could transform their fortunes and Ancelotti`s departure with a year left on his contract came as no real surprise.
"There will be a meeting. The club can judge my job and after that they will take a decision," Ancelotti said after the Everton match.
"Last year was really good, this year was not so good."