Fred Rutten has been sacked as coach of PSV Eindhoven and replaced by Phillip Cocu until the end of the season following three significant defeats for the Dutch side.
After Sunday's 3-1 loss at NAC Breda left PSV four points adrift of Eredivisie leaders AZ Alkmaar, Rutten – who had already confirmed his departure in the summer – paid a price described by the club as "inevitable". "PSV regret the inevitable departure of Rutten and [assistant coach Erik] Ten Hag and appreciate their huge effort and commitment over their tenure," read a statement.
The NAC result followed PSV's 4-2 first-leg reverse at Valencia CF in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 last Thursday and a 6-2 humbling at home to FC Twente in the Dutch top flight the weekend before. That sequence marked the end for one-time Twente defender Rutten, who had taken charge in 2009 but proved unable to emulate the success of predecessors Guus Hiddink and Ronald Koeman.
Where that pair won four successive titles between 2004/05 and 2007/08, by contrast the 49-year-old former Twente and FC Schalke 04 boss led PSV to back-to-back third-place finishes. Such was the discontent in the wake of the NAC defeat that the team coach was met by protesting supporters upon its return to Eindhoven on Sunday night.
Cocu has been appointed interim coach for the remainder of the campaign. The 41-year-old ex-PSV, FC Barcelona and Netherlands midfielder, who has been coaching at the club since February 2009, will be assisted by former PSV defender Ernest Faber – he makes the cross-town move from FC Eindhoven. Cocu and Faber's first task will be to attempt to overhaul the two-goal deficit against Valencia in Thursday's round of 16 second leg.
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