LONDON: Aston Villa have sacked manager Tim Sherwood after the 2:1 home defeat by Swansea condemned the Midlanders to a sixth successive Premier defeat and eighth in all this season.

Villa are four points from the relegation zone, having not won since the opening day of the season. Kevin MacDonald, who has been coaching the under-21s, has been placed in temporary charge for the third time.

Sherwood took over in the middle of last season from sacked Paul Lambert. He led them to the FA Cup Final but was always a questionable choice at the time because of his lack of senior managerial experience. Previously Sherwood had been only interim boss at Tottenham.

A Villa statement said: “Aston Villa Football Club has parted company with manager Tim Sherwood.

“The board has monitored the performances closely all season and believes the results on the pitch were simply not good enough and that a change is imperative.

“However, the club would like to place on record its sincere thanks to Tim for all his efforts during a difficult period last season and for the many positive contributions he has made to the entire football set-up during his time with the club. We wish him well in the future.

“Assistant manager Ray Wilkins, first-team coach Mark Robson and performance analyst Seamus Brady have also left with immediate effect and do so with our best wishes.

“A search for a new manager has commenced and the squad will be managed in the interim by Kevin MacDonald.”

Immediate speculation about a successor surged around Brendan Rodgers (recently sacked by Liverpool), David Moyes (in Spain with Real Sociedad) and Nigel Pearson (sacked in the summer at Leicester).