Blackburn’s owners were today seeking their third manager of the season after sacking a “bitterly disappointed” Henning Berg.
The Norwegian was dismissed 57 days after taking over at Ewood Park, with his record showing just one win in 10 matches.
There was some surprise at the decision, with Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand suggesting it came too soon as he wrote on Twitter: “Berg didn’t even get to see a transfer window let alone take part in one?!?”
And Berg believes the team’s performances during his short spell were far better than the results they brought, predicting the next manager will inherit a squad capable of climbing the npower Championship table.
When Berg’s predecessor Steve Kean resigned in September, Blackburn stood third in the league. They are now placed 17th – 16 points adrift of the play-off places and only seven points above the drop zone.
Berg expressed frustration at losing his job in a statement released through the League Managers’ Association.
He said: “It goes without saying that I am bitterly disappointed to have been relieved of my managerial duties at Ewood Park after just 57 days since my appointment.”
Berg spoke of a “fantastic relationship” with the club’s supporters, stemming from his days as an effective defender in the Premier League-winning team of 1994-95.
He added: “It was an honour for me to manage a club that is so close to my heart and I now wish all of them every success for the rest of the season and beyond.
“I would also like to thank the players and staff for their support and commitment in this short period. They have all done their best and unfortunately the results in these 10 games have not reflected their performances.
“I wish the club all the best in the future, and am sure that with a few additions in the January transfer window, they will have a good chance of getting a play-off place.”
As Berg, 43, considers his next move in football, with his three-year contract cut drastically short, Blackburn are in need of a new management team.
The 1-0 Boxing Day defeat to Middlesbrough marked their fifth league loss in six matches, and Berg was dismissed along with assistant manager Eric Black, first-team coach Iain Brunskill and goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms.
“This decision has been taken following a very disappointing sequence of results,” the club said in a statement.
Executives from Venky’s, Blackburn’s owners, held talks after the Middlesbrough game and company director Balaji Rao was quoted in The Times of India as saying: “We have not been doing well and dropping points and losing matches quite often. I want to go up.”
Former Aston Villa coach Kevin MacDonald was an early favourite for the post with several bookmakers, ahead of former Rovers manager Mark Hughes.
Wayne Wild, co-chairman of the supporters’ group Rovers Trust, wants to see the owners make a successful appointment.
Wild said: “To be honest I’m surprised they’ve made such a swift decision. But it is the correct one.”
He added: “When you think we’ve hit rock-bottom we manage to dig a little further. This club has become a national joke.”