Vegalta Sendai and Arnold part ways
© Getty Images

Australian Graham Arnold has been fired as manager of J.League side Vegalta Sendai after a poor start to the season, the Japanese club said on Wednesday.

Vegalta said on their website that the decision to terminate Arnold's contract after just five months had been taken by "mutual consent".

The 50-year-old was assistant coach of the Australian national side under Guus Hiddink at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ and subsequently spent a brief spell in charge of the Socceroos.

Sendai, in the tsunami-devastated north-east of Japan, have taken just two points from six matches this season and sit second from bottom of the 18-team first division.

Arnold blamed the poor results on having inherited an ageing squad. "Many of the older players were resistant to change," he told Australian broadcaster SBS. "I felt as if I was coaching someone else's team and in the end I have my standards to uphold. Things weren't working... and we agreed to part ways."

Assistant coach Susumu Watanabe will take over from Arnold as manager, Vegalta said. "I'm extremely proud," the 40-year-old Watanabe told the club's website. "I'll put all my energy into getting results for Sendai and building a new chapter in the club's history."

Arnold had been scouted by Vegalta after leading A-League side Central Coast Mariners to the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League.

He had brought several A-League players to Japan, including midfielder Michael McGlinchey and Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, plus Mariners strength and conditioning coach Andrew Clark.

Arnold's tactics were criticised in some quarters and the team's defensive frailties were again illustrated in Sunday's 4-0 defeat by Urawa Reds, which proved to be the tipping point for the club.