Utrecht dismiss head coach De Jong

Utrecht have announced the sacking of head coach Jean-Paul de Jong just four games into the 2018/19 Eredivisie season.

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The 47-year-old former Utrecht midfielder stepped up from his position as assistant to take over the first team in 2017.

Previously a youth coach at the club, De Jong leaves with Utrecht in 11th place on the current standings, with one win this season.

Utrecht chairman Frans van Seumeren told the Utrecht website: “During the evaluation, this summer, the chemistry and communication with players and staff was still not optimal, and Jean-Paul set up the staff differently, but unfortunately this did not have the desired result, the progression is not in line with our sporting ambitions.”

Director of football affairs Jordy Zuidam added: “This decision has taken the lead of FC Utrecht with pain in the heart, especially because everyone at FC Utrecht greatly appreciates the person Jean-Paul de Jong is, and for his enthusiasm and his love of the club.

“FC Utrecht is extremely grateful to him and wishes Jean-Paul is very successful in his future career.”

De Jong took over from Erik ten Hag last season after he left to join Ajax and led the club to a fifth-place finish.