ROME — Roma fired coach Rudi Garcia on Wednesday after only one win in its last 10 matches in all competitions, with the club’s American president saying "this is the right time for a change."
While no immediate replacement was announced, Luciano Spalletti was widely expected to be hired for his second stint in charge of the Serie A club.
"I’d like to thank Rudi Garcia for all of his hard work since joining the club," said Roma president Jim Pallotta, part of a group of Boston executives who purchased the three-time Italian champions in 2011 to become the first foreign-majority owners in Serie A.
"We’ve all enjoyed some great moments during his time at Roma but we believe that this is the right time for a change."
After beginning the season as an expected title contender, Roma is down to fifth place in the Italian league, seven points behind leader Napoli.
Spalletti, who coached Roma from 2005-09, reportedly flew to Miami to meet with Pallotta to go over contract details. Media reports suggested Roma would hire Spalletti to an 18-month contract at 3 million euros ($3.2 million) per season.
Roma said that youth club coach Alberto De Rossi would run Wednesday’s training session.
Garcia was hired in 2013 and Roma finished runner-up in his first two seasons.
A Frenchman who had previously coached Lille, Garcia quickly endeared himself to Roma fans by guiding the club to 10 straight wins to open the 2013-14 season.
But troubles began this season following Roma’s derby win over Lazio in November, and the squad never really recovered from the 6-1 thrashing at Barcelona in the Champions League later that month.
Roma managed to advance from the group stage of the Champions League following an unimpressive 0-0 draw with BATE Borisov and will next face Real Madrid in the round of 16.
The rout by Barcelona highlighted Roma’s weak defence. The squad has conceded 22 goals in 19 Serie A matches — easily the worst among the top clubs.
Garcia’s last match was a 1-1 draw at home with AC Milan on Saturday. Three days earlier, Roma wasted a two-goal lead in a 3-3 draw at Chievo Verona. And before the holiday break, Roma was eliminated from the Italian Cup by second-division club Spezia.
Spalletti could become the fifth manager for Roma’s American owners. The first man the Americans hired was Luis Enrique, who guided Barcelona to the Champions League title last season.
The 56-year-old Spalletti won two Italian Cups and an Italian Super Cup with Roma. He then spent five years with Zenit St. Petersburg before being fired in March 2014.
Spalletti also guided Roma to three straight runner-up finishes in Serie A. Then, after a sixth-place finish in 2008-09, he resigned after Roma lost the opening two matches the following season.
Roma next faces last-place Hellas Verona on Sunday.