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

The Spaniard leaves Elland Road after just 10 weeks and 12 games in charge, with the club outside the drop zone only on goal difference.

Allardyce, 68, is Leeds’ third permanent manager of a turbulent season – Gracia replaced Jesse Marsch in February.

“We thank Javi and his team for their efforts under difficult circumstances,” the club said in a statement.

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

Director of football Victor Orta left Elland Road by mutual consent on Tuesday.

Former Bolton, Newcastle, West Ham and England boss Allardyce has been out of work since the end of the 2020/21 season after failing to save West Brom from top-flight relegation.

And in his first press conference as Leeds manager, Allardyce said: “I might be 68 and look old and antiquated but there’s nobody ahead of me in football terms. Not Pep, not Klopp, not Arteta. It’s all there with me. They do what they do and I do what I do. In terms of knowledge, I am not saying I’m better than them but I’m certainly as good as they are.”

It was the first time Allardyce had been relegated from the Premier League in his 30-year managerial career and he left the Hawthorns six months into an 18-month contract.

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

Allardyce said he was “shocked” to get the opportunity to try to save Leeds but that it took him “two seconds” to say yes.

“I have seen a lot of trouble before and – I could have done with a little bit more time, but four games – hopefully we can make a difference and keep this fabulous club in the Premier League,” he told TalkSPORT.

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 last month 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.

Gracia’s dismissal means there have been 15 managerial changes in the Premier League this season – five more than in any other previous campaign.

Leeds are the fourth top-flight side to have parted ways with two managers this season.

Former Watford boss Gracia issued a statement in which he 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.”

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.

“Obviously they are very difficult games, Man City, Newcastle, West Ham and Spurs,” said Allardyce.

“You can all point out where the easiest fixture might be and of course, there are no easy fixtures in the Premier League, but we can only go and do what we can try and achieve.”

Leeds were promoted to the Premier League in 2020, following a 16-year absence from the top-flight, under Marcelo Bielsa but the Argentine was sacked in February last year.

Text by AFP