André Villas-Boas has been sacked by Tottenham Hotspur in the wake of Sunday's humiliating home defeat to Liverpool, the manager departing White Hart Lane after barely 18 months in charge with faith that he was capable of securing Champions League qualification having been eroded within the club's hierarchy.

The Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, and the technical director Franco Baldini had spoken briefly with Villas-Boas in the aftermath of the harrowing 5-0 defeat, with Villas-Boas emerging to insist he would not resign. There were further talks on Monday, before the club issued a statement confirming his departure was "by mutual consent and in the interests of all parties". The club's technical co-ordinator, Tim Sherwood, will oversee Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final against West Ham United and could yet be placed in caretaker charge until the end of the season.

Villas-Boas' position had been severely undermined by his team's toils this season, despite Spurs' comfortable progress out of their Europa League group and seventh place in the Premier League. They are only five points adrift of Manchester City in fourth, and eight from Arsenal at the top, yet the nature of their defeats in direct confrontation with the title contenders had a profound effect on the manager's standing. City had beaten Spurs 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium a little over three weeks ago and, while the comprehensive nature of that defeat had been shocking, it actually merely served to expose deeper concerns within the club's boardroom over the manager's position.

Levy and the club's owner, Joe Lewis, had been angered initially by a 3-0 home defeat to West Ham in the first week of October, a result which prompted an intense examination of Villas-Boas' suitability to fulfil Spurs' longer-term ambitions. The hierarchy had sanctioned around £109m of spending over the summer on seven players, including three club record fees, reinvesting the money raised by Gareth Bale's sale to Real Madrid. Yet the new personnel, while boasting reputations on paper, have taken time to adapt to the Premier League with the team's rather stodgy and conservative play having failed to enthuse those in the boardroom.

Home matches have not been particularly enjoyable, with some players having wanted to see Villas-Boas adapt his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation and play with two strikers to increase the side's attacking potential. The whole fit has appeared rather awkward in recent weeks and, while the manager survived the defeat to City and recovered seven points from games against Manchester United, Fulham and Sunderland, the thrashing instigated by Liverpool was the last straw.