Southampton have fired manager Claude Puel despite the Frenchman having two years left to serve on his contract.
The club made the announcement on Wednesday, confirming his termination "with immediate effect".
“Southampton Football Club can today confirm that it has terminated the contract of Claude Puel with immediate effect,” a statement on the club website read.
Hired by the club in June 2016 on a three-year contract, the 55-year-old Frenchman did a commendable job of leading the Saints to an 8th-placed finish in the 2016-17 Premier League season. But the highlight of his tenure was their EFL Cup run, coming close to lifting a title but eventually losing out to Manchester United in a thrilling final at Wembley.
Despite Puel's obvious successes on the pitch, it was said that a majority of players were unhappy with his methods towards the end of the season and the board reportedly caved into their demands by removing the French tactician.
“The search for a new management team is underway. We are confident that we will find the right fit in line with the long term vision of the club,” the club added.