Tim Sherwood
Sherwood spent just five months as Tottenham boss. Reuters

Tottenham Hotspur have sacked Tim Sherwood as head coach after five months in charge at White Hart Lane.

Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas in December and won 14 of his 28 games in charge as the club qualified for the Europa League in sixth.

But failure to finish in the top four and qualify for the next season's Champions League has seen Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy opt to activate a break clause a season into the 45 year old's 18-month contract in north London.

"We appointed Tim mid-season as someone who knew both the players and the Club," Levy said in a Tottenham statement. "We agreed an 18-month contract with a break clause at the end of the season and we have now exercised that option.

"Since appointing Tim as Assistant First Team Coach in 2008 and then as Technical Co-ordinator in 2010 and Head of Football Development in 2012, we have been supportive of him during football management changes throughout that period.

"On behalf of the Club, I should like to state our thanks for all his efforts during his years with us. We wish him great success in his managerial career.

"Moving forward, now the season is over, we shall embark on the process of finding a new Head Coach. We have a talented squad and exciting young players coming through. We need to build on this season, develop our potential and inspire the kind of performances that we associate with our great Club."

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax coach Frank de Boer are the leading contenders for the role at Tottenham, who were forced into selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in the summer.

The club signing seven new players in the summer but with little result and Sherwood claimed after his final game - the 3-0 win over Aston Villa - that Bale's sale was signficant to Tottenham's downturn in fortunes.

"Where we've finished in sixth is where we should be, it's where we are as a club," he said. "We all want to aspire to the top four and the title but we aren't getting there with what we've got.

"To remove a match winner like Gareth Bale out of that squad - we shouldn't have expected it after that."