Struggling English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers have sacked manager Paul Ince after just six months in the job.
|Ince felt he should be given more time [AFP]
Former Manchester United, Liverpool and Inter Milan midfielder Ince became the first black manager in the top division after earning his spurs at lower-league sides Macclesfield and Milton Keynes Dons.
But six consecutive league defeats culminating in a 3-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic have left Rovers – champions in 1995 – five points from safety in the relegation zone.
"It is with great sadness that the board announce that Paul Ince is to leave the club," Rovers chairman John Williams said in a statement on Tuesday.
"Three wins in 17 games has seen a squad, which finished seventh last season, fall to 19th position.
"We are currently in real danger in becoming detached from the pack.
"The survival of the club in the Premier League is paramount and our focus now is finding a replacement who will be able to maintain our top division status.
"Paul will bounce back, he is a fighter, and we wish him well."
Former England international Ince, 41, was appointed on a three-year deal in June this year, replacing his former United teammate Mark Hughes who left to take over Manchester City.
Rovers began the season with an away win at Everton but picked up just two further league victories, the last in late September.
Ince had asked for more time to get it right with games in the next 10 days against Stoke City and fellow strugglers Sunderland.
Williams said that the club "had been desperate for Ince to succeed" – but told Sky Sports News that "it was time to change in order to help the club secure its status."
Ince is the sixth Premier League manager to leave this season after Alan Curbishley, Kevin Keegan and Roy Keane quit West Ham United, Newcastle United and Sunderland respectively, and Harry Redknapp left Portsmouth to replace the sacked Juande Ramos at Tottenham Hotspur.
Former Rovers manager Graeme Souness is the bookmakers' favourite to replace Ince at Ewood Park, with former Bolton Wanderers and Newcastle United manager Sam Allardyce also linked with the position.