Ajax manager Ronald Koeman has quit, the Dutch champions have confirmed.

Koeman’s departure follows Ajax exit from the UEFA Cup after a 3-1 defeat to Auxerre. Ajax are in third place in the Dutch first division, eight points behind league leaders PSV Eindhoven.

Ajax said in a statement that assistant trainers Ruud Krol and Tonny Bruins Slot would handle first team affairs until a suitable replacement had been found.

Koeman said Thursday’s loss was the final straw.

“Yesterday’s result decided it for me. I can no longer summon up the strength and the energy to get over this and to make the team perform better,” he said in the statement.

“If I am not completely motivated and driven, I cannot and should not stay as trainer at Ajax. After three years and three months, our successful collaboration comes to an end,” he said after a meeting with the Ajax board.

Ajax director Arie van Eijden said he accepted with reluctance Koeman’s resignation.

“Ajax is naturally disappointed with how this season has gone. Yesterday’s disappointing performance didn’t have any direct consequences for us. We have also achieved many successes together with Ronald Koeman,” he said.

Koeman led Ajax to the Dutch league title in 2002 and 2004, the Dutch cup in 2002 and to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in the 2002-2003 season.

He has already been linked with the coaching post at Valencia following the sacking earlier today of Claudio Ranieri