Everton has sacked manager Roberto Martinez after three years in charge.
Martinez’s side, 12th in the Premier League, were beaten 3-1 by champions Leicester on Saturday and lost 3-0 at Sunderland on Wednesday.
The Toffees lost in the semi-finals of the FA Cup and League Cup this season.
The club praised the Spaniard, 42, for his “utmost integrity and dignity”, describing him as a “great ambassador” who played a “key role” in developing young players.
A statement yesterday confirming the decision to relieve him of the post Everton said: “Would like to place on record their thanks for the dedication and commitment Roberto has shown during his three seasons”.
This season they have won just five league games at home all season and are guaranteed to finish with their lowest points tally at Goodison Park since the introduction of three points for a win in 1981.
Everton’s annual awards scheduled for yesterday evening – where protests against Martinez had been expected before his dismissal was announced – has been postponed.
The club said it wanted to “reciprocate” Martinez’s “commitment and dignity” by rescheduling the event, adding a “planned celebration would be inappropriate in the circumstances”.
Former Ajax coach Frank De Boer, who left the Dutch club yesterday, has been linked with Everton. His agent Guido Albers told BBC Sport: “If a club like Everton comes to him of course he will be interested to talk.”
He described Everton as “an amazing club”, adding: “They will have their own shortlist. If Frank is on the shortlist, I don’t know.”
There have been an increasing number of protests against Martinez from supporters at recent home matches.
A banner saying “Time to go Roberto” was flown over Goodison during the 2-1 win over Bournemouth on April 30, while some Everton fans remained inside the ground for more than an hour after the match to protest against Martinez and chairman Bill Kenwright.
A 4-0 loss to Liverpool and FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester United at Wembley came within four days of each other. Martinez had previously stated that they would be “defining” fixtures for his side.
He promised to deliver Champions League football when he was appointed to replace David Moyes in the summer of 2013 and he finished fifth in his first season in charge with 72 points – the most achieved by Everton since they last won the league title in 1986-87.
Only Aston Villa and Bournemouth have conceded more goals at home in the Premier League than Everton.
The club won only one league game against a team outside the bottom six since September 12
Martinez leaves Everton with a 38 per cent Premier League win percentage during his tenure. Over the past two seasons Everton have won a combined 22 league games – just one more than in 2013-14.
They have conceded 18 points from winning positions this season – only Tottenham with 20 and Liverpool (19) have a worse record.
Two-goal advantages were lost at Bournemouth and Chelsea – and even when they regained the lead in injury time in both games they still were pegged back to 3-3.
In March, a 2-0 lead at home to West Ham with 12 minutes left ended in a 3-2 defeat.
Last season the Toffees had the joint worst record with Sunderland for teams losing points from winning positions with 19.
Martinez successfully fought to keep hold of defender John Stones last summer as Everton rejected a £30m bid from Chelsea, but striker Romelu Lukaku said in March that he is keen to play in the Champions League next season.
In January, Martinez bought forward Oumar Niasse from Lokomotiv Moscow for £13.5m – Everton’s third most expensive signing – but the Senegal striker has started only two matches, failing to score in seven appearances in total.
Everton came under new ownership in February when Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri bought a 49.9 per cent stake.
Martinez began his managerial career at Swansea in 2007 and oversaw promotion from League One in his first full season in charge before joining Wigan in 2009.
He led the Latics to their first FA Cup victory in 2013, beating Manchester City 1-0 in the final, but they were relegated from the Premier League three days later and he took over at Everton shortly after.
Former Everton winger Pat Nevin told BBC Radio 5 live that the “perfect storm” had formed against Martinez – with poor form, fan protests and a new owner.
“I know Bill Kenwright gets along with him, so it’s hurt a lot people at Everton.
“He is a good manger and he will get another job, he’ll come back better and stronger because he is still young.
“Everton will have a lot of choices, you can throw David Moyes in there. Though I’ve spoken to a lot of fans and a lot of fans don’t fancy him.”