PAOK sack head coach Stevens

PAOK Salonika have sacked Dutch head coach Huub Stevens following Sunday's "below-par performance" against mid-table Ergotelis.

The 60-year-old former Schalke and Hamburg boss took over at PAOK last June but inconsistent results have allowed Olympiakos to pull 19 points clear in the race for the Greek Super League title.

The Thessaloniki club had lost four of their last seven league games before drawing 2-2 at 12th-placed Ergotelis. PAOK were also knocked out of the Europa League by Benfica last week.

A statement published on the club's official website read: "PAOK FC, taking under consideration the obvious and already lengthy crisis of the team during the last two months, have decided to terminate their contract with head coach Huub Stevens.

"PAOK FC wanted their cooperation with Mr Stevens to be successful and tried hard along with the manager to produce a plan that would lead to victories.

"Unfortunately the below-par performance against Ergotelis doesn't match our expectations. Therefore a change seemed the necessary step ahead of the important matches for the Super League and Greek Cup so that PAOK can stay on track for their remaining season targets.

"We have the utmost respect for Mr Stevens and wish him all the best for his future career."

Assistant manager Georgios Georgiadis has assumed interim control of the first team while reports in Greece suggest national boss Fernando Santos will take over in Thessaloniki following the World Cup.

It was last week confirmed that the Portuguese coach will stand down as Greece boss following the Brazil finals after four years in the role.