Cardiff have sacked manager Mick McCarthy following their 2-0 home defeat to Middlesbrough on Saturday – their eighth loss in as many games.
The latest setback means the Bluebirds have picked up just 11 points from their 14 Championship games so far this season.
As well as losing eight games in a row, Cardiff have not scored a goal since Sean Morrison netted in their 5-1 defeat at Blackburn on September 25.
McCarthy’s assistant Terry Connor has also left the club. Steve Morison and Tom Ramasut will oversee first-team duties while the club search for a new manager.
Cardiff confirmed McCarthy’s dismissal in a statement released shortly after the defeat to Boro, adding, “We would like to thank Mick and Terry for their efforts during their time with the Bluebirds and wish them all the best for the future.”
McCarthy joined Cardiff in January on a short-term deal as a replacement for Neil Harris and enjoyed a stellar start to his reign, leading the club on an 11-game unbeaten run.
The 62-year-old was handed a two-year deal in March and oversaw his 1,000th game as a manager during his time at the Cardiff City Stadium – a 0-0 draw at Huddersfield.
His arrival at Cardiff came after a brief spell in Cyprus with APOEL. He has also managed Millwall, Sunderland, Ipswich and Wolves – plus the Republic of Ireland on two occasions – during a 29-year coaching career.
“As soon as the second goal goes in, you see what has been happening all season for Cardiff. They lose their way, their discipline, their shape and, to be honest, Middlesbrough probably could have had a couple more.
“It was a really poor performance and it is the manner of the performances, the manner of the losses that is what has got Mick McCarthy in trouble. You are looking and thinking: ‘Where’s the plan?’
“We saw the charge for 15 minutes at the start of the second half. They don’t get the goal and are perhaps a little bit unlucky. You could see what they did for the crowd, who got behind the team, but they didn’t get the goal and then conceded the second.
“We have seen it so often this season where their heads seem to go down and they seem to lose their discipline, the spaces in between the defence, the midfield and the attack seem to become bigger.
“Where do Cardiff go from here? I really don’t know. It’s a tough one and something needs to happen because the way the players are performing and the body language of some of them is just not right.”
Cardiff had made an anxious start against Middlesbrough with McCarthy under intense scrutiny, and were soon peppered by shots from Paddy McNair, Martin Payero and Andraz Sporar.
With half an hour gone, Cardiff fans’ nerves were tested when ex-Bluebird Sol Bamba had a powerful header well saved by Alex Smithies, but things quickly got worse within two minutes when the visitors were awarded a controversial penalty.
Sporar’s shot from outside the box struck the hand of Mark McGuinness, which was down by his side, on its way through to Smithies. Referee Jeremy Simpson pointed to the spot, with Sporar on hand to tuck home his third goal of the season (35).
Matt Crooks came close to doubling the visitors’ lead shortly afterwards, but he managed to drag a shot wide of the left-hand post despite appearing to have plenty of time to pick his spot from the edge of the box.
Cardiff exploded into life after the break, desperate to salvage something from the game. Flint saw a series of shots blocked, before Joe Lumley reacted well to push away a bouncing effort from James Collins and Flint’s downward header agonisingly hit the underside of the crossbar.
But Middlesbrough kept their composure, managed to take control of the game again and piled the misery on their stricken opponents when Uche Ikpeazu’s searching cross was moved on by Sporar to Payero, who finished well (75) to seal the points – and seal McCarthy’s fate.