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BBC Football Correspondent, Mike Ingham
"The writing was on the wall for Gianluca Vialli"
 real 14k

Tony Banks MP
"With high expectations you must deliver - Luca didn't deliver"
 real 14k

Harry Harris, The Mirror
"Luca Vialli lost the respect of all the players but it goes deeper than that"
 real 14k

Tuesday, 12 September, 2000, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Vialli sacked as Chelsea boss
Gianluca Vialli: Sacked as Chelsea manager
Chelsea have sacked manager Gianluca Vialli - just five games into the new Premiership season.

A brief Chelsea statement said Vialli has been released from his duties with immediate effect.

Vialli took over at Stamford Bridge in February 1998, but has been under increasing pressure after Chelsea's poor start to the season.

Chelsea have won just one of their first five games this season.

Vialli held a meeting at 5pm with chairman Ken Bates and managing director Colin Hutchinson.

Player power

And while the club expressed their "admiration" for the Italian's achievements during his two-and-a-half-year reign, they concluded that "in a wider context it is in our best interests to seek a change of direction".

But Pierluigi Casiraghi, the Italian striker bought by Vialli whose career has ended after injury, claimed Chelsea should have kept faith with Vialli.

Casiraghi said: "Ken Bates does not know the meaning of gratitude. He is arrogant and has made a mistake."

No successor has yet been appointed and "for the immediate future" the current staff, led by coach Graham Rix, will take charge of the team.

Ken Bates does not know the meaning of gratitude. He is arrogant and has made a mistake
  Chelsea's Pierluigi Casiraghi

Defender Graeme Le Saux said: "All the Chelsea players are shocked and no one had any idea this was happening."

Athole Still, agent of the former Sampdoria and Juventus striker, said player power had caused Vialli's departure from Stamford Bridge after a poor start to the season.

"The reason for Luca's sacking has nothing to do with the club's results at the start of the season," he said.

"The reason was that he had lost the confidence of some of the players. The spirit in the camp was not what he or Chelsea wanted to have.

"Gianluca accepts that he had lost the confidence of some of the players, and therefore completely accepts the club's prerogative in choosing to dismiss him.

"Gianluca is extremely disappointed with the situation, but he knows that something had to be done. There is no rancour involved."

Earlier, former Chelsea defender Ron 'Chopper' Harris claimed Vialli had three games to save himself from the chop.

Among those tipped as potential replacements are Rix, Gianfranco Zola, George Graham, Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle and Ray Wilkins.

Pierluigi Casiraghi
Casiraghi has slammed Chelsea's decision
BBC Sport's Mark Lawrenson told Five Live: "I would say the timing is all wrong - they are only five games into the season.

"It is very, very surprising. We have seen in the newspapers that one or two of the players have been questioning what's been going on.

"Vialli is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, but expectation levels are so high at Chelsea."

Former Minister for Sport, and prominent Chelsea fan, Tony Banks MP claimed he saw Vialli's sacking coming as long ago as last spring - even as the Italian and his team celebrated their success in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

"Once Ken Bates makes up his mind that is it." he said.

" I am very sorry for Luca as a person, because he is a bloody nice bloke. But I think this is good for Chelsea and it is good for him too."

You have to be able to deal with your players - but he was not able to. There was also a naivety in his coaching
  Tony Banks
Banks cited Vialli's major problems as an inability to get his points across to his players and to keep them happy on and off the pitch.

He said: "It was his failure to communicate. There were several players I spoke to who said that he is not very good at communicating.

"It is not just what you do on the pitch. His treatment of (Gianfranco) Zola has also brought it to a head.

"You have to be able to deal with your players - but he was not able to. There was also a naivety in his coaching.

"I am always sad when anybody goes - but the club is bigger than anybody. It was the right decision, and I support Ken Bates in what he has done.

"It was always going to happen at some stage. But Ken Bates moves quickly - Ruud Gullit found that out.

"I am feeling quite happy about it tonight, because it clearly was not working. This was inevitable.

"I am a long-standing, long-suffering supporter. But even Chelsea fans lose their patience in the end - as Ken Bates has done."

While reactions to Vialli's dismissal have been mixed in England, the sentiments voiced in his native Italy are of continuing admiration and sympathy.

Roberto Mancini, assistant trainer at Lazio, said: "I'm very disappointed for Vialli because he's a good friend and a good manager.

"He's done very well at Chelsea, and they've won many trophies under his management.

"I'm sure he'll have a good career in management, maybe not in England, but certainly in Italy."

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Chelsea chop
Should Vialli have been sacked?
See also:

12 Sep 00 |  Chelsea
Bates - the ruthless businessman
12 Sep 00 |  Chelsea
Vialli's Chelsea Blues
12 Sep 00 |  Chelsea
Quote unquote: Vialli reaction
12 Sep 00 |  Chelsea
Vialli's career at-a-glance
12 Sep 00 |  Photo Galleries
Vialli career - in pictures
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