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Fulham have sacked Chris Coleman and named the Northern Ireland coach Lawrie Sanchez as his replacement until the end of the season.

Fulham are four points above the drop zone and the club decided to make a change after a seven-match winless run that culminated in a 3-1 defeat by Manchester City on Monday. A club statement confirmed that Fulham had also parted company with Coleman’s long-standing assistant Steve Kean:

It is disappointing that the club has no alternative but to part company. As a team and organisation Fulham Football Club has goals to attain and success to achieve and by no means can this be compromised.

As part of the restructure, [assistant manager] Steve Kean will also be replaced with immediate effect. After consultation with the Irish FA president Jim Boyce, it is agreed that Lawrie Sanchez will join as caretaker manager for the remaining five Premiership games of the season.”

Coleman, 36, swapped Premier League Blackburn for Craven Cottage in a £2.1m deal in 1997. He quickly became the club captain, leading the Whites to the Second Division title and becoming a mainstay in Jean Tigana’s outstanding Division One championship-winning side in 2000. His playing career came to an end after he broke a leg in a horrific car crash, although the club appointed him to the Fulham coaching staff.

Coleman succeeded Jean Tigana as interim manager in 2003 with the club’s top flight status in serious jeopardy, but steered the Whites to safety and was named Fulham’s permanent boss after the end of the campaign. He guided the Londoners to ninth place, their highest-ever top flight finish, in his first season in charge but has struggled in recent seasons.

Sanchez has steered Northern Ireland to the top of their European Championship qualifying group, ahead of Spain, Sweden and Denmark, among others.During his three-year reign, the former Wycombe Wanderers manager has guided the country to wins over Spain, Sweden and, most famously, England at Windsor Park in September 2005.