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Page last updated at 18:02 GMT, Sunday, 6 February 2011

West Brom part company with manager Roberto Di Matteo

Roberto Di Matteo
Di Matteo joined West Brom in June 2009

West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo has been relieved of his duties and put on gardening leave with immediate effect.

The Baggies lost 3-0 at Manchester City on Saturday and the club said a run of 13 defeats in 18 games was the reason for the decision.

In a statement via the League Managers Association, Di Matteo said: "I was extremely surprised and disappointed to be relieved of my duties."

West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace said the move was "a tough decision".

He added: "But we, as a board, believe it is the right one to give the club the best possible chance of remaining in the Premier League.

"Our poor sequence of results stretches back more than three months and there has been little sign of it coming to an end.

"If this run continues much longer, achieving our goal of retaining our Premier League status will become increasingly difficult. That is why we felt compelled to act now.

"This club's track record proves we do not take such decisions lightly, with Roberto being only our fourth manager or head coach in almost 11 years.

"We now begin the search to find a new head coach who will fit into our existing set-up and work under our sporting and technical director, Dan Ashworth, with a view to taking the club forward."

Former Chelsea midfielder Di Matteo took over at The Hawthorns in June 2009 and led the Midlands club to promotion last season.

Di Matteo reaction after 3-0 defeat by Man City

The side lost 6-0 to Chelsea in their opening game of the campaign but recovered to lose only twice in their first nine games, which included a 3-2 win at Arsenal and a fightback to draw 2-2 at Manchester United.

They even briefly moved into a top-four spot after beating Fulham in October but their results have dipped badly in recent months and they have slipped to 17th place, above the relegation on goal difference alone.

In their next four fixtures they are at home to West Ham and Wolves before trips to Stoke and Birmingham.

Di Matteo added: "Winning promotion last season was without doubt one of the highlights of my career and certainly my managerial career.

"Playing in this league is tough and we have had to compete against some fantastic sides, but we have shown that we can compete with the best.

"Apart from the first week of the season, the club has not been in the bottom three and has an important and crucial run of home fixtures coming up. I am disappointed that I don't now have the chance to lead the team through this crucial period and keep them in the league."

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan said it was a shame that Di Matteo was not being given the opportunity to see out the season at the Hawthorns.

"Roberto represents yet another victim of the 'hire and fire' mentality that pervades in our game," he said.

"The club has big games ahead, against Wolves and West Ham, and you have to question the decision to sack the manager. It is in exactly situations like these that we all want to see clubs back the individuals they have employed rather than see the sack as a quick fix.

"In West Brom's case that means showing support and loyalty to the manager that brought the club automatic promotion back to the Premier League last season, at the first time of asking, and was the league's manager of the month only four months ago.

"Anyone who knows Roberto well will know he is an intelligent, committed and talented football man who has proved himself as both a player and a manager. Without a doubt he has the ability to turn around recent results and maintain West Brom's position outside of the bottom three."

Di Matteo's assistant Eddie Newton and head of sports science Ade Mafe have also left the club and first-team coach Michael Appleton has been placed in temporary charge.

"On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Roberto for his efforts over the past 19 months, particularly for his contribution towards last season's promotion success and our very promising start to the current campaign," said Peace.

"We wish him and his family well for the future.

"Roberto embraced the structure in which we wanted him to work and he has been a good colleague.

"However, we are in a results-driven industry and felt we had no choice but to act now."

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see also
Man City 3-0 West Brom
05 Feb 11 |  Premier League
West Brom 2-2 Wigan
01 Feb 11 |  Premier League
Baggies must wake up - Scharner
14 Jan 11 |  West Brom
Di Matteo ready for relegation scrap
04 Jan 11 |  West Brom
Man Utd 2-2 West Brom
16 Oct 10 |  Premier League
Arsenal 2-3 West Brom
25 Sep 10 |  Premier League
Baggies confirm Di Matteo as boss
30 Jun 09 |  West Brom

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