Everton have sacked manager Frank Lampard after less than a year in charge at Goodison Park.
Defeat at fellow strugglers West Ham United on Saturday was Everton’s ninth loss in 12 Premier League games.
They are second from bottom of the table with 15 points from 20 matches, above Southampton on goal difference.
Former England midfielder Lampard, 44, replaced Rafael Benitez in January 2022 with the team 16th in the table and helped Everton avoid relegation.
Everton are now looking for their sixth permanent manager in five years.
The club thanked Lampard and his coaching staff “for their service during what has been a challenging 12 months”.
“Frank and his team’s commitment and dedication have been exemplary throughout their time at the club, but recent results and the current league position meant this difficult decision had to be taken,” added a club statement.
Coaches Joe Edwards, Paul Clement, Ashley Cole and Chris Jones have also left Everton, but Alan Kelly stays on as goalkeeping coach.
Everton said they had “started the process to secure a new manager”.
Former Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa is on the list of candidates under discussion as a potential successor to Lampard.
The 67-year-old Argentine, who is admired by Everton owner Farhad Moshiri, has not worked since being sacked by Leeds in February last year, although he remains a hero at Elland Road for taking the club back into the Premier League.
It remains to be seen whether Bielsa would take a job in mid-season while former Burnley boss Sean Dyche is sure to be discussed.
Former Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl was discussed by Everton’s board before Lampard’s appointment a year ago and is available after leaving St Mary’s in November.
And an outside candidate who has admirers at Goodison Park is West Bromwich Albion manager Carlos Corberan, who has overseen a revival at The Hawthorns since his appointment in October.
The former Huddersfield Town boss also worked on Bielsa’s staff at Leeds.
Paul Tait and Leighton Baines will take training until a new manager is appointed.
After a 1-1 draw at reigning champions Manchester City on 31 December, Everton have lost 4-1 to Brighton at Goodison Park, were knocked out of the FA Cup with a 3-1 defeat at Manchester United and were then beaten by Southampton despite taking the lead, before the latest defeat by West Ham.
They have managed only three wins all season.
There have been widespread and vocal protests from fans against the board in recent games, and supporters staged a sit-in demonstration after the loss to Southampton.
Everton’s board of directors missed that game because of what the club claimed was a “real and credible threat to their safety”.
Merseyside Police said no threats or incidents had been reported to officers prior to the fixture before Everton announced “enhanced security procedures” would be put in place.
That was also in response to some supporters confronting defender Yerry Mina and midfielder Anthony Gordon as they left Goodison Park in their cars last weekend.
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri attended his first game in 14 months at West Ham, along with much-criticised long-serving chairman Bill Kenwright. Moshiri suggested, when questioned by Sky Sports at the game, that it was not down to him decide on Lampard’s future.
The club are yet to sign anyone in the January transfer window but spent in excess of £80m in the summer, including the £33m signing of Amadou Onana from Lille and £20m purchase of Dwight McNeil from Burnley, after receiving £60m for Brazil forward Richarlison from Tottenham.
Lampard took over at Goodison with Everton 16th in the table, six points above the relegation zone.
Everton had 10 defeats in the remaining 18 games of the season, but secured their survival with a 3-2 comeback victory against Crystal Palace on what Lampard called “one of the greatest nights” of his career.
Lampard won only 12 of his 44 matches in charge in all competitions, a win percentage of 27.27 that is far worse than his record at Derby (42.1%) and Chelsea (52.4%).
As a player, Lampard made 648 appearances and won 11 major trophies during 13 seasons with Chelsea after joining from boyhood club West Ham in 2001.
He left Stamford Bridge in June 2014 as the club’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals and had stints at Manchester City and New York City before ending his 21-year professional playing career in 2017.
Lampard scored 29 goals in 106 games for England.