Blackburn chairman John Williams admits the threat of relegation proved just too great to allow Paul Ince to continue as manager.
Ince, in his first top-flight job, was sacked as Rovers boss after 17 matches in charge and only six months into a three-year contract.
"We are halfway through the season and we are getting detached at the bottom," said the chairman. "A poor run of results and a disappointing performance at the weekend - frankly it is time to change in order to help the club secure its [top-flight] status."
He added: "The survival of the club in the Premier League is paramount, and our focus now is on finding a replacement who will be able to maintain our top-division status."
Ince's failure to arrest an 11-match win-less run ultimately cost him his job after the club slumped to 19th in the Barclays Premier League, already five points from safety.
The woeful 3-0 loss at Wigan on Saturday - a sixth successive defeat - proved to be the final straw.
An emergency board meeting was held on Monday, and Ince was informed of his fate on Tuesday morning.
Back in June, Ince was preferred to more experienced candidates like former Bolton and Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce and ex-England and Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren (now at Dutch club FC Twente).
His dismissal is an admission by the Blackburn board that they got it wrong.
"It was a very difficult decision," Williams told Sky Sports News. "It is not something we like to do at all. But we have to think first and foremost about the club, and our predicament was worrying - and we had to make a decision which was in our best interests."
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