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Premier League

Malky Mackay sacked: Cardiff City confirm the Scot has been dismissed following the 3-0 defeat to Southampton

Mackay's future has been in doubt since owner Vincent Tan issued a 'resign or face being sacked' ultimatum earlier this month

Cardiff City have confirmed that manager Malky Mackay has been “relieved of his duties” following the 3-0 defeat to Southampton on Boxing Day.

Mackay’s future had been in serious doubt following the ultimatum he was issued by club owner Vincent Tan ordering him to ‘resign or face being sacked’, and it was a surprise to see the Scot walk out still in charge of the Bluebirds when Saints visited the Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday.

The statement read: “The Board of Directors at Cardiff City Football Club have today relieved Malky Mackay of his duties.

“A new first team manager will be appointed and announced in due course.”

Tan has since confirmed the reasons why he felt it necessary to dismiss the man who took the club to the top flight for the first time in their history, claiming that Mackay had aired "far too much dirty linen" in the public eye in recent weeks.

"There has been a good deal of publicity generated by, and about, Mr Malky Mackay for the last few months," a statement released to Sky Sports News read.

"Indeed, far too much dirty linen has been exposed to the public gaze but, I stress, not by me.

"Indeed, I have deliberately not responded to this, hoping that the club can be judged on its football rather than personalised arguments about who said what to whom.

"I have, however, regretfully concluded that it is no longer fair to the club, its players, its fans and the public more generally for this uncomfortable state of affairs to continue.

"Cardiff City Football Club means far too much to us all for it to be distracted by this."

The relationship between Tan and Mackay had significantly deteriorated before the latter's sacking

Mackay leaves Cardiff sitting a point above the relegation zone in 16 position in the Premier League table, having guided them to promotion last season through winning the Championship.

However, following a satisfactory start to the season, the club found itself centre of attention when the head of recruitment Iain Moody was sacked in favour of 23-year-old Alisher Apsalyamov, who was later revealed to be on work experience with the club as a friend of Tan’s son. Apsalyamov has since been stood down over issues with his visa.

Mackay received backing from Tan following Moody’s departure, but when the 41-year-old admitted he would like to bring in three new players in January, Tan appeared to lose his patience with the manager and issued him with the ultimatum, identifying a poor run of results, his unhappiness with their playing style and his “extreme upset” with Mackay and Moody’s overspending in the summer in which they were said to have gone over the £35m budget by £15m.

Fans were already deeply unhappy with the axe floating precariously over Mackay’s head, and they showed their support for the Scotsman before, during and after last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool by chanting his name from the stands.

They followed that up with a 200-strong protest against Tan ahead of the Boxing Day clash with Saints, but conceding three goals for the second time in five days proved to be Mackay’s last act in charge.

Talks were due to take place on Saturday ahead of the match against basement club Sunderland between Tan, Mackay and chairman Mehmet Dalman – who had been accredited last week with saving Mackay when his job was first put on the line.

But he has failed to make those showdown talks, with Tan choosing that a new approach is needed if the club are to survive their first campaign in the Premier League.

The League Managers Association issued a statement on Friday evening on behalf of Mackay which expressed his sadness at his dismissal.

It read: “It is with the deepest and most sincere regret that I today confirm my sacking as Manager of Cardiff City FC. As disappointing as today’s decision is, I am already able to look back at my time at Cardiff City FC with immense pride and joy given the number of milestones the Club achieved during the last two-and-a-half years. A League Cup Final appearance followed by promotion to The Barclays Premier League for the very first time, achieved as winners of The Championship, allowed the club a move back to this elite level after a 51 year absence.

“I have enjoyed my time immensely at this fine club, in this great city, and throughout I’ve always attempted to put my own personal stamp on specific areas that I believe to be all-important, such as the implementation of a progressive culture as well a complete professional approach to all aspects of day-to-day management, that are required if you are to become a top club - and more importantly to remain as one.

“I would like to thank my players, all of my direct footballing staff, all the people behind the scenes at the club and most importantly the people of Cardiff, who have stood behind me resolutely throughout my time here and especially in these recent turbulent months. I leave with my head held high having gained a level of experience that, upon reflection, I suspect would have been difficult to find anywhere else in British football. The foundations laid at Cardiff City FC will provide a solid platform for my successor, and for the sake of the club, I hope that all of the progress that has been made so far will not be impaired in any way by today’s enforced changes.”

Former Manchester United striker and current Molde manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is currently the bookmakers favourite, with Sven-Goran Eriksson, Yilmaz Vural and Murat Yakin also linked with a move to Wales.

Assistant manager David Kerslake and first-team coach Joe McBride will take charge of this weekend's tie with Sunderland, meaning a new manager is unlikely to be appointed until next week.

A further club statement read: "David Kerslake and Joe McBride will be taking charge of the team for the match against Sunderland on Saturday December 28th at Cardiff City Stadium."

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