Melbourne Victory announced they have sacked coach Mehmet Durakovic after the team endured a disappointing start to the A-League season.
Club chairman Anthony Di Pietro confirmed the axing at a media conference on Friday, also naming assistant coach Kevin Muscat as caretaker coach for Saturday's home clash against the Newcastle Jets. But Di Pietro said Muscat was not a candidate to take over as head coach and an appointment was imminent and could be announced within the next 24 hours.
"We gave Mehmet every opportunity to achieve success this season but we found we were inconsistent and without direction," said Di Pietro. "We've been successful in the brand development and financial management, but unfortunately in relation to recruitment there's always risk.
"No matter how good your due diligence there is always risk with appointments. But we're being proactive about change.
"Our decision is based on the need to have consistency in our direction. Mehmet is a wonderful person of high integrity, who has my full respect on a personal and professional level. This is always difficult but it's a professional decision."
Di Pietro said Durakovic's position had been under review and the decision to axe him was not taken rashly. Durakovic was sacked after a spluttering start which has yielded just three wins along with six draws and five losses.
The team has failed to gel despite a star-studded line-up including the acquisition of Harry Kewell and it is languishing in eighth spot on the 10-team ladder after three successive losses.
Durakovic, the former youth team coach, was only appointed full-time in June after a stint as caretaker following the board sacking of long-time coach Ernie Merrick in March.
The Victory have now been linked with sacked Jets coach Branko Culina and former Brisbane Roar mentor Frank Farina. However, it is understood the Melbourne club have shown strong interest in luring Premiership-winning Roar boss Ange Postecoglou away from Queensland, while further rumours circulate the new man will be joining the A-League from the UK.