Brazil giant Internacional have sacked coach Celso Roth.
“The deterioration in Celso’s relations with the fans was one of the factors that motivated our decision,” Inter vice-president Roberto Siegmann said on Friday.
Inter, who won the Libertadores Cup for the second time last year, are close to being eliminated at the group stage.
Former Inter, AS Roma and Brazil midfielder Paulo Roberto Falcao, who is working at a TV commentator, is favourite to succeed Roth.
Siegmann, Inter’s vice-president for football, however, told the club’s website, www.internacional.com.br, a decision on a replacement for Roth had not been made.
“It’s still not decided. The names being mentioned are mere speculation,” he said.
“We’ve already had contact with some professionals. In any case, I’m working to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible.”
Roth took over from Uruguayan Jorge Fossati ahead of the semi-finals of last season’s competition and won the trophy but failed in December to steer the club into the final of the Club World Cup, a competition they won in 2006.
Roth, 53, was dismissed two days after Inter lost 1-0 away to Chiapas of Mexico playing poorly and putting their qualification in Group Six of the Libertadores Cup in jeopardy.
A draw would have been enough to secure Inter’s place in the last 16. Instead they face a tough home decider against Emelec of Ecuador in Porto Alegre on April 19.
Inter lead the group with 10 points, one more than Chiapas and two ahead of Emelec.
Roth had been living on borrowed time since December when Inter became the first team from the two big soccer continents, South America and Europe, to fail to reach the final of the Club World Cup and its predecessor, the Intercontinental Cup.
More than 10,000 Inter fans made the long trip to the Middle East, where Roth had once worked, expecting to watch their team contest the final against European champions Inter Milan only to see them upset 2-0 by Congolese African champions TP Mazembe in their semi-final.
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