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Struggling Leeds appoint Allardyce to replace sacked Gracia

Leeds have sacked manager Javi Gracia and appointed Sam Allardyce for the rest of the season as they scramble to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The club said Tuesday that director of football Victor Orta had left by mutual consent and 24 hours later announced the departure of Spaniard Gracia along with his backroom staff.

Gracia, who only arrived at Leeds in February, leaves the club after four defeats in five Premier League games — they are outside the drop zone on goal difference with four games remaining.

“Leeds can confirm Javi Gracia will leave the club after 12 games in charge,” a club statement said. “Zigor Aranalde, Mikel Antia and Juan Solla, who joined alongside Gracia, will also leave the club.

“We thank Javi and his team for their efforts under difficult circumstances.

“The remaining four games of the season will be overseen by experienced head coach Sam Allardyce.”

In a statement, Gracia said he was “grateful for the opportunity and proud of the team” after a “very intense period”.

“I am confident the team will achieve its objective,” he added. “It is a committed squad full of quality.”

Former Bolton, Newcastle, West Ham and England boss Allardyce, 68, becomes Leeds’ third permanent manager of the season after Jesse Marsch and Gracia.

Allardyce told TalkSPORT that it took him just “two seconds” to agree to take the job.

“I was shocked,” he added. “I never thought at this stage of the season… I thought there would be no jobs.”

Allardyce suffered his first Premier League relegation when West Brom went down in 2021, leaving the club six months into an 18-month contract.

Despite his impressive record as a club manager, Allardyce lasted only 67 days and one match as England boss before being forced out after a newspaper sting in 2016.

Leeds travel to title-chasing Manchester City on Saturday, before hosting third-placed Newcastle. A trip to West Ham and an Elland Road encounter with European hopefuls Tottenham round out the season.

Allardyce is reported to have agreed a basic salary of £500,000 ($625,000) for his four games in charge, with a £2.5 million bonus if he can keep Leeds up.

Gracia collected 10 points from his first six games in charge but a terrible run of results in April sent Leeds into a downward spiral.

Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth followed 4-1, 5-1 and 6-1 defeats to Arsenal, Crystal Palace and Liverpool.

The 23 goals Leeds conceded during April is a Premier League record for a single month.

On Sunday, fans’ group the Leeds United Supporters Advisory Board issued a vote of no confidence in both the club’s board and Gracia.

The players subsequently issued a statement on Monday apologising for their performance at Bournemouth and for failing to acknowledge fans at the team hotel.

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