Malky Mackay lost a destabilising power struggle with Cardiff’s divisive owner on Friday, becoming the fourth English Premier League soccer manager to be fired this month. The Scot was dismissed just five days after being told by the club he would remain in charge for the “foreseeable future”. Despite that assurance, there was a caveat that the former Celtic and Norwich defender had to heal his rift with Vincent Tan, which seemed unlikely given the owner’s apparent refusal to meet him in recent months. The Malaysian owner and Mackay clashed over the dismissal of head of recruitment Iain Moody in October. And Mackay’s future at the south Wales club seemed to be doomed when he received an ultimatum last week from Tan to resign or be fired in an e-mail that listed grievances against the manager. [Malky Mackay] will recover, come back fighting and show that he’s the great manager he is Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers Tan, who bought Cardiff in 2010 and hired Mackay the following year, had already alienated some supporters by changing the club’s colours from blue to red and adopting a new crest. Now the team is in a struggle to stay in the top division, with a loss to Southampton on Wednesday leaving them only a point above the relegation zone. On the eve of Saturday’s match against last-place Sunderland, Tan fired the 41-year-old Mackay, whose contract ran through to June 2016. “The board of directors at Cardiff City Football Club have today relieved Malky Mackay of his duties,” a club statement said. “A new first-team manager will be appointed and announced in due course.” Cardiff paid no tribute in its statement to the manager who took them into the Premier League for the first time and is widely admired across the game, particularly for his conduct during the stand-off with Tan. “It’s a sad day for him, but it’s something that he probably felt was on the cards anyway, so I think it’s best for him that there’s closure on that,” said Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who was previously in charge at Cardiff rivals Swansea. “He’s going to be an outstanding manager at the top level for many years, Malky,” Rodgers said. “He will recover, come back fighting and show that he’s the great manager he is.” The bookmakers’ favourite to replace Mackay is former Manchester United forward Ole Gunnar Solksjaer who has established himself as a manager in his home country of Norway, winning the league twice with Molde. Solksjaer would be swapping apparent job security in Norway for a high-pressure relegation battle in the Premier League. Five of the bottom six teams have already changed their managers this season. Sunderland was the first – replacing Paolo Di Canio with Guy Poyet – and Ian Holloway was next out at Crystal Palace with Tony Pulis coming in. Fulham then replaced Martin Jol at the start of December with Rene Meulensteen, and West Bromwich Albion still has a vacancy after dismissing Steve Clarke. The only firing in the top half of the standings so far was Andre Villas-Boas by Tottenham last week. He was replaced by Tim Sherwood.