Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick has been sacked despite the team being in the midst of its AFC Champions League campaign. The club announced today that Merrick, who led the team to two A-League championships, and the Victory had agreed to part ways.
Merrick had been at the helm of Victory for six A-League seasons, but paid the price for his team's fall from grace this season when they finished fifth. He still had a year on his contract to run and Melbourne has played just one of their six Champions League matches, but the Victory board decided it was time for a change, according to club chairman Anthony Di Pietro.
"This decision has been reached after an extensive board review of all parts of the business and it was determined that the best way forward was to part ways and Melbourne Victory undertake a new coaching direction," he said.
"Our club sets extremely high standards and we are disappointed with the results of the recent A-League season, along with our start to the AFC Champions League campaign. We wish to be successful in Asia and believe this decision will assist in taking us to that level."
The Victory lost their opening Champion League match to Japan's Gamba Osaka 5-1 earlier this month. Merrick said he enjoyed his time at the helm of the Victory.
"I've enjoyed plenty of good times at Melbourne Victory and am very proud of the way the club has developed over the last six years since its inception," he said.
Youth team coach Mehmed Durakovic will become Melbourne's caretaker coach through the remainder of the Champions League campaign.