(Removes 'hold' from headline)
MOSCOW, April 8 (Reuters) - Dynamo Moscow have sacked coach Dan Petrescu, the Russian Premier League side opting to end the 46-year-old former Chelsea and Romania defender's 20-month spell in the capital following a poor run of results since the winter break.
Struggling for consistency all season, a shock 4-0 defeat to bottom side Anzhi Makhachkala in Dagestan on Sunday left fourth-placed Dynamo eight points adrift of league leaders and city rivals Lokomotiv Moscow with just six matches remaining.
"After the game against Anzhi, the Dynamo directors decided it was time to change the head coach," club sporting director Guram Adzhoev told reporters on Tuesday.
"At today's meeting, with Dan Petrescu present, we told the team that we had ended his contract through mutual consent. We would like to thank him for his work and wish him all the best in his future career."
Adzhoev added that former assistant Nikolai Kovardayev would act as caretaker manager while Amkar Perm coach Stanislav Cherchesov had been earmarked as Petrescu's permanent replacement.
"We are negotiating with Cherchesov and I hope we can unveil him as our new coach in the near future," Adzhoev said.
The 50-year-old Cherchesov has enjoyed an excellent season with the modest side from Perm, guiding them to a very respectable seventh place in the standings despite working on a limited budget and with a squad lacking in overall quality.
Petrescu took charge of Dynamo in Aug. 2012 and led them to seventh place last season, meaning they missed out on a place in European competition.
Despite heavy investment in a squad that includes several Russian internationals, club officials felt Petrescu had taken Dynamo Moscow as far as he could and that change was necessary at the 11-time champions.
"Last year, Dan helped get the team out of a difficult situation and managed to get them playing well," Adzhoev added.
"However, recently we have not seen the team progress and we need to keep moving forward."
Dynamo Moscow are seven points behind Zenit St Petersburg, who occupy the second and final Champions League berth, with the clubs finishing from third to fifth guaranteed a Europa League spot. (Reporting by Dmitry Rogovitskiy; Editing by John O'Brien)
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- Dan Petrescu
- Lokomotiv Moscow
- Anzhi Makhachkala