Roebrto di Matteo
Di Matteo sacked having failed to stop Villa's freefall Getty

Aston Villa have sacked Roberto di Matteo after just four months in charge of the Championship club. Villa, relegated from the Premier League last season, have collected just 10 points from a possible 33 this season and sit 19th in the table.

Club owner Tony Jiantong Xia has decided to take action in the wake of the 2-0 defeat to Preston North End on Saturday (1 October).

A statement from the club read: "Aston Villa Football Club has today parted company with manager Roberto Di Matteo.

"The club decided to act following a run of disappointing results which has the left the team occupying 19th position in the Championship.

"The club would like to place on record its appreciation to Roberto for all his efforts in helping rebuild the squad and wish him well for the future.

"Steve Clarke will take over as caretaker manager during the search for a new manager. There will be no further comment from the club."

Former Hull City manager Steve Bruce is an early favourite to replace the former Chelsea manager.

Villa have just won just one match this season – against Rotherham in the second week of the season – despite spending in the excess of £50m ($65m) during the summer transfer window. Their signings included arrivals from Premier League clubs in Mile Jedinak and James Chester, with Ross McCormack joining for £12m from Championship rivals Fulham.

Approximately 5000 Villa fans made the journey to Deepdale on Saturday only to see their side turn in another disappointing performance. Di Matteo and his players were met by jeers as they left the pitch following the final whistle.

Since the turn of the year, Villa have picked up just 19 points, with the problems that plagued Remi Garde's spell in charge persisting under the new regime.