Everton have sacked Marco Silva after Wednesday’s 5-2 defeat to Liverpool in the Merseyside derby left them 18th in the Premier League.
The club confirmed his departure on Thursday evening along with members of his staff after lengthy talks with club owner Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright at their Finch Farm training ground.
Duncan Ferguson is set to take temporary charge of the first team ahead of Saturday’s game against Chelsea with Everton saying “the club aims to confirm a new permanent manager as swiftly as possible”.
It is understood that Shanghai SIPG manager Vitor Pereira is the club’s number one target to replace Silva with former Toffees boss David Moyes also considered.
The Scot, who previously managed Everton from 2002-2013, has been out of work since leaving West Ham in the summer of 2018.
Silva arrived in May 2018 and led Everton to an eighth-place finish last season – but they are currently on a run of one win in six and have just 14 points from 15 Premier League games this season.
The Portuguese was also heavily backed in the transfer market, spending £120m in the summer, adding to the level of expectancy and pressure on Silva to deliver a top-six finish this season.
The Toffees have spent just four seasons outside of the top flight in their 132-year history and have been an ever-present since 1954 as concern grows they could face a relegation battle after dropping into the bottom three after 15 games for the first time since April 1999.
Everton face a daunting run of fixtures over the festive period – hosting Chelsea on Saturday and also facing Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City in their next six league games, before travelling to Anfield again to face Liverpool in the FA Cup third round.
Former Everton defender Kevin Ratcliffe says Everton were possibly too big for Silva, and was surprised at how long they took to sack him.
“I thought it might have happened a little bit sooner, maybe a couple of weeks ago,” he said.
“Losing away to Aston Villa, losing at home to Sheffield United and then obviously Norwich at home which I think was the icing on the cake.
“Things didn’t look right there. I think the club was maybe too big for him and maybe he didn’t realise the job in hand.”