Bernd Schuster has been sacked as coach of Shakhtar Donetsk, the Ukrainian premier division club have confirmed.

“Unfortunately we have to part company with Schuster and his assistants,” Shakhtar president Rinat Akhmetov said in a statement.

“The team’s play in the second part of the season has been criticised by experts and media for a reason,” he added.

“We’ve suffered defeats in several key matches and lost the initiative which had been gained in the first part of the season.”

Schuster, 44, was appointed last June, succeeding Italian coach Nevio Scala.

The club’s sporting director Viktor Prokopenko will act as temporary coach until a permanent successor is found.