Norwich City had no choice but to dismiss manager Chris Hughton with just five matches left in the season with a change needed in a bid to stave off relegation, said chief executive David McNally.
Hughton was sacked a day after his side slumped to a listless 1-0 home loss to West Bromwich Albion, a result that left them five points above the drop zone, having lost four of their last six Premier League matches.
He has been replaced by youth team coach Neil Adams, who made more than 200 appearances for the club on the right wing but has not managed at senior level.
Ominously, after next weekend’s match with 18th-placed Fulham their final four games are against leaders Liverpool, last season’s champions Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
McNally said Hughton, 55, “is one of the good guys in an industry where you swim with sharks” but it was the unanimous decision of the board to let him go.
“Clearly it’s a results business and four points from the last six games, particularly against peer-group clubs, hasn’t been good enough,” McNally said on Monday.
“Seven away defeats consecutively, four defeats in six games, four points in six games is relegation form.”
The 48-year-old Adams said it took him about “two seconds” to accept the job, despite the magnitude of the task awaiting him.
“I’ve got to put my stamp on it, I need to organise the way I want the players to play,” he said.
“More than anything we need a bunch of players prepared to do absolutely everything.
“People outside Norfolk will not realise how big a club this is. We need to send a team out to win a game.
“Am I confident we can get enough wins to stay up? Absolutely.”