London (AFP) – Norwich sacked manager Alex Neil on Friday hours after the Scot stated he was the right man to take the second tier club forward in the long term.

The 35-year-old — who will be replaced in the interim by first team coach Alan Irvine — lost the confidence of the board with the Canaries nine points off the Championship play-off places.

They had kept him in his role even after Norwich were relegated from the Premier League last season but a 5-1 whipping by Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday sealed his fate.

A 1-1 draw with relegation candidates Bristol City on Tuesday was his last game in charge.

“The board has taken the tough but unanimous decision, believing it is in the best interests of the club for a new manager to be in place through a crucial summer transfer window and into next season,” the board said in a statement.

Neil had been Norwich manager since January 2015, after impressing at Scottish side Hamilton Academicals.

He guided them to promotion to the Premier League at the first attempt and won praise despite failing to keep them in the Premier League the following season.

Former West Brom handler Irvine’s first game in charge will be hosting struggling Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.