Manager sacked after Aston Villa thrashing following ‘disappointing start’ to season

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Aston Villa welcome Hibs to Villa Park for the second leg of their Europa League Conference play-off on Thursday

Lee Johnson will not be in the dugout with Hibs for Thursday’s Europa League Conference play-off second leg against Aston Villa after being sacked by the Edinburgh club on Sunday.

Hibs were beaten 3-2 by Livingston on Saturday following a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Villa on Wednesday night - with the club losing their first three Scottish Premiership games.

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Johnson’s backroom team members Jamie McAllister and Adam Owen have also left the club with David Gray poised to be in charge against Villa on Thursday.

Chief Executive Ben Kensell commented: “The Club has taken the tough decision to relieve Lee Johnson of his duties following a disappointing start to the domestic campaign. We wish Lee and his coaching staff all the best for the future and thank them for their efforts.”

Johnson was appointed at Hibs in May 2022 and guided the club to a fifth-placed finish last term. Hibs started the season with a 3-2 home loss to St Mirren before suffering a 2-1 defeat to Motherwell.

Livingston took the lead after eight minutes through a Jordan Obita own goal on Saturday but Hibs levelled just after the hour thanks to Martin Boyle. However, they conceded just two minutes later as Bruce Anderson provided an instant response. Livingston added a third through Mohammed Sangare and a second goal four minutes from time for the hosts via Josh Campbell proved in vain.

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After the game Johnson reflected: “It’s not good enough, if I look at the overall start to the domestic campaign. I take full responsibility. I think the main reason is the conceding of easy goals. Again, I take responsibility for that.

“We do look like we have goals in us still but we’ve been masters of our own downfall with our defending. I think we’ve shown that we haven’t quite got the squad to compete of both fronts yet.”

Villa are in an incredibly-strong position for Thursday’s return leg as they enter the fixture with a comfortable five-goal cushion which has all-but put them into the Europa Conference League group stages.

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