Zola ends desperate spell as Birmingham boss

Gianfranco Zola was a controversial appointment by Birmingham City's owners

Gianfranco Zola resigned as manager of Birmingham City on Monday after a dreadful run of results since he took over at the Championship club just four months ago.

The 50-year-old Italian was a controversial appointment by the club's Chinese owners after they sacked Gary Rowett, who had Birmingham well placed to challenge for a place in the play-offs, in December.

However, Zola oversaw the club slide from that lofty position to just two wins in 22 matches, and after Monday's 2-0 defeat at home to Burton they are just three points above the relegation places with three matches remaining.

Zola, whose dazzling playing career has not been replicated as a manager, did not shirk his responsibility as he fronted up to the media post-match and accepted he had failed.

"I sacked myself," said Zola, who was on a two-and-a-half year contract.

"I decided to give in my resignation. I am sorry because I came to Birmingham with huge expectations.

"Unfortunately the results have not been good and I take full responsibility.

"It is not that I like quitting, but Birmingham deserves better.

"If I feel I cannot help the players, why stay? If I cannot help the team, it is better I leave and let someone else do that.

"I feel very bad and very sorry. We worked with a lot of meaning, but unfortunately it didn't produce the results. It is all very disappointing."

Zola had been in his third management spell in England after previous coaching stints with Watford and West Ham.

The former Chelsea and Italy star has mixed managerial pedigree, having been sacked in June last year after just one season in charge of Qatari side Al-Arabi.

He was dismissed by West Ham in 2010 in his first job as a manager, with a promising first season paving way to a struggle against relegation the following campaign.

Zola's Watford were then beaten by Crystal Palace in the 2013 Championship play-off final and he left the Hornets midway through the following season.

He was also sacked by Serie A side Cagliari after just 10 matches in charge in 2015 after failing to lift them out of the relegation zone.