MICHAEL LAUDRUP SACKED

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MICA club statement released on Tuesday evening read: “Swansea City and manager Michael Laudrup have tonight parted company.

“(Defender and captain) Garry Monk will take up the reins as head coach alongside current first team coach Alan Curtis for the foreseeable future.

“The club will be making no further comment at this stage, but will endeavor to keep our supporters updated with any future development.”

Laudrup’s departure was announced after Huw Jenkins, the Swansea chairman, held crisis talks with the man who had led the club to the first major trophy in their history only 12 months ago, when they beat Bradford City 5-0 to win the League Cup at Wembley. Swansea have won only one of their last 10 Premier League matches, although the reasons for Laudrup’s abrupt dismissal, which is expected to cost the club in excess of £3m in compensation, run much deeper than the results.

Jenkins said of the decision: “It is a decision we have taken reluctantly. But it’s a decision made in the best interests of Swansea City Football Club and our supporters. It is the first time in nearly 10 years that the club has parted with a manager in this way, but we had to remove the constant uncertainty surrounding the club and Michael’s long-term future with us. I had a meeting with Michael today in a final attempt to support him and establish a way to improve the work of the backroom team to secure the results we need over the final 14 Premier League games.”

However, there has been an increasing acceptance that, one way or another, Laudrup was almost certain to move on at the end of this season, a year before his contract was due to expire. Yet it is a measure of how concerned the Swansea board became with the team’s performances in recent months, together with the doubts they harboured about Laudrup’s laid-back approach and his ability to motivate the players to engineer a turnaround, which they felt compelled to intervene.

Some of the issues with Laudrup have been longstanding but they have started to resonate more on the back of the team’s travails this season. Questions have long been asked about how hard the players were working on the training ground under Laudrup and whether his regime was too relaxed –a point several members of the squad privately raised with the manager not long after he had taken over. This season fractures have started to appear on and off the pitch – last month Monk and Chico Flores clashed on the training ground.

Ultimately, though, the 2-0 defeat against West Ham United on Saturday, which leaves Swansea 12th but only two points above the relegation zone, proved to be a tipping point. The listless performance at Upton Park reinforced the sense that the players had lost faith with Laudrup’s methods – Ashley Williams described the West Ham display as “embarrassing” and admitted the plans Laudrup devised to deal with Andy Carroll “didn’t work”.

BY JOSEPHINE OTIENO