Sunderland have confirmed they have parted company with manager Gus Poyet. The Black Cats are just a point above the relegation zone with nine games remaining following their dismal 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light on 14 March.
In a statement released through their official website, the club confirmed an announcement over Poyet's successor will be made "in due course".
Chairman Ellis Short said: "I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season's 'great escape' and cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan.
"Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season and we find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed."
Sunderland won just one of their last 12 league games under Poyet.
The Uruguayan becomes the sixth manager to part company with his club this season following the departures of Neil Warnock (Crystal Palace), Alan Irvine (West Bromwich Albion), Alan Pardew (Newcastle United), Harry Redknapp (Queens Park Rangers) and Paul Lambert (Aston Villa).
Poyet took over at the club in October 2013 with the club positioned at the bottom of the league following Paolo Di Canio's reign in charge.
The former Brighton manager guided Sunderland to safety last season as the club took 13 points from a possible 15 in a magnificent run that also included wins over Chelsea and Manchester United.
But with an other relegation scrap awaiting the club in the remaining months of the season, Sunderland have sought change and are expected to announce a new head coach in time for Saturday's trip to West Ham United.
Former Netherlands manager Dick Advocaat has been installed as an early favourite to take the job at the Stadium of Light with West Ham boss Sam Allardyce also in the running.