Mike Phelan: Hull City sack head coach after less than three months in permanent role

Mike Phelan
Phelan's side lost 3-1 at West Brom on Monday after leading 1-0

Premier League strugglers Hull City have sacked head coach Mike Phelan.

Phelan, 54, took over as caretaker manager following Steve Bruce's departure in the summer, becoming a permanent appointment in October.

But with City in the relegation zone, picking up three points from their last nine games, the club announced they had "parted company" with Phelan.

Hull said they were already searching for a replacement, with an announcement to be made "in due course".

Phelan made a promising start to his Hull City career, winning the manager of the month award for August, but the Tigers' last league win was on 6 November, a 2-1 victory over Southampton.

Swansea's victory over Crystal Palace on Tuesday night sent Hull to the bottom of the table, three points from safety.

Former Manchester United assistant Phelan was in charge of the club for just 85 days as a manager, plus 81 days as caretaker boss.

Assistant Neil McDonald, goalkeeping coach Bobby Mimms and chief scout Stan Ternent have also left the club.

On Twitter, the club said: "We would like to thank Mike for his efforts both as assistant manager and head coach over the last two years."

Media playback is not supported on this device

'Basic' errors annoy Hull boss Phelan

Phelan's last game in charge was a 3-1 defeat by West Brom on New Year's Eve. City were leading 1-0 at half-time but collapsed in the second half, falling to a fifth defeat in seven games.

Hull will next play fellow strugglers Swansea in the FA Cup third round before taking on Manchester United in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-finals on 10 January.

It has been a tumultuous season for the club, which is up for sale. In July, Bruce left as manager after gaining promotion to the Premier League with a breakdown in his relationship with vice-chairman Ehab Allam contributing to his departure.

At the beginning of the season injuries had left the Tigers with only 13 fit senior players although Phelan, while in temporary charge, did begin the campaign with successive league wins.

Victories have been harder to come by since September, however, and with fellow strugglers Swansea and Crystal Palace sacking their managers over Christmas, Phelan paid the price as newly promoted Hull attempt to maintain their Premier League status.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes, whose team beat Watford 2-0 on Tuesday, said: "Mike got the job under difficult circumstances and I thought recent performances had markedly improved, so it showed he was having an impact.

"He's a great football guy, but that's the Premier League for you - it's ruthless and sometimes, at this time of year, owners get panicky."

Analysis

BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty

The dash to avoid the drop from the Premier League has claimed another victim with Hull City's sacking of Mike Phelan.

Phelan has gone the same way as Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace and Bob Bradley at Swansea City as further evidence that patience simply does not - indeed some clubs feel it cannot - exist when the threat of relegation looms.

And yet here is a manager who took his time to accept the Hull job when contenders were hardly queuing outside the door of the KC Stadium and after being named Premier League manager of the month in August.

Phelan has also guided Hull to the EFL Cup semi-final against his former club Manchester United but this has simply not figured in the club's calculations when weighed against the fact they are bottom of the table with only 13 points from 20 games.

Phelan has hardly had massive backing in the transfer market and in many games Hull actually played well without getting points on the board. This has ultimately cost him his job.

The Tigers now need to choose carefully and see if they can find a way to back a new manager in the January market - with former Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett the name being mentioned after Phelan's departure.

Premier League management is a brutal business but there must still be a large measure of sympathy for Phelan after taking on a task which plenty thought was a thankless one.

Top Stories