The Ukrainian football side Dynamo Kiev on Thursday released head coach Anatoly Demyanenko from his duties after a poor Champions` League start, according to DPA. Josef Szabo, himself a former Dynamo coach and long-time member of the team staff, repaced Demyanenko.
Demyanenko submitted his resignation to management after a Wednesday 2-0 defeat to Italian club Roma.
The Ukrainian side had been playing poorly in the domestic league as well. The team, traditionally Ukraine`s strongest, currently stands in third place, seven points adrift from rivals Donetsk Shakhtar.
Popular with players for his mild coaching technique, Demyanenko during July and August presided over the worst start to a Dynamo season in club history. The last time Dynamo stood in third place in domestic league standings, was in the 1960s.
"Our goals have not changed, we will try to move out of (the Champions` League) group stage," Szabo said. "We have much work ahead of us."
Ihor Surkis, Dynamo`s President, in a statement on the team web site he "experienced difficulty" accepting Demyanenko`s resignation, but that he agreed that the team`s present poor form "represents the limit of Demyanenko`s abilities."
Demyanenko, winner of two league titles and cups during his two year tour at the club, will remain a member of the Dynamo staff, Surkis said.
Dynamo Kiev is one of the last teams in the former Soviet Union to retain a policy of naming only previous players to the head coach job, and retaining them on salary after they are sacked.
Szabo, capped 40 times for the Soviet national during the 1960s, has coached Dynamo twice before, from 1993 through 1997, and from 2004 - 2005.
He took over the team in a similar difficult Champions` League situation in 2004 when he took over the team with a demoralised Dynamo a goal down from the first leg against Turkey`s Trabzonspor.
Dynamo under Szabo`s guidance defied odds-makers by defeating Trabzonspor 2-0, and qualified for the 2004-5 competition.
Szabo later credited his decision to allow interpreters for Dynamo`s foreign professional into a game locker room for the first time in team history, as an important reason for the turnaround.