Auxerre have announced the sacking of coach Laurent Fournier, a day after the prospect of relegation returned to haunt the club.
Auxerre are the only club in the French top flight to have avoided relegation, but that possibility crept closer to reality yesterday following a 2-0 reverse at home to Evian.
The result dropped Auxerre to 19th, and they will slip to bottom later today if Sochaux draw with or beat Nice. This season Fournier's side has won only four times, losing 12 and drawing 12 in 28 matches so far.
Fournier is the fifth coach from the French top flight to be sacked this season following Eric Roy (Nice), Antoine Kombouare (Paris Saint-Germain), Bernard Casoni (Evian) and Mecha Bazdarevic (Sochaux).
The 47-year-old is a former footballer who notably played for PSG. He joined Auxerre as coach in June 2011 having previously coached PSG and Strasbourg.
The Burgundy club won their only league title in 1996, an era dominated by long-time coach Guy Roux, who helped develop a string of top players including Eric Cantona, Laurent Blanc, Philippe Mexes, Basile Boli and Djibril Cisse.
Jean-Guy Wallemme was later named the club's new coach. Former defender Wallemme, 44, spent most of his playing career at Lens and also coached the north-eastern French outfit from 2008 to 2010.