Premier League - West Brom sack Di Matteo
West Bromwich Albion have sacked manager Roberto Di Matteo as they fear they would have been relegated with him remaining in charge.
A club statement read: "West Bromwich Albion have today relieved head coach Roberto Di Matteo of his duties and placed him on gardening leave with immediate effect.
"This was the unanimous decision of the football club's board of directors in light of a worrying sequence of results which has seen the club lose 13 of their last 18 games in all competitions, winning only three."
The manager expressed his surprise at the decision, citing his achievement in winning promotion last season and keeping the Baggies out of the bottom three in this campaign.
"I was extremely surprised and disappointed to be relieved of my duties," Di Matteo said.
"Winning promotion to the Barclays Premier League with West Brom 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.
"I wish the players well over the coming weeks and I thank them for the hard work they have put in and the great attitude they have shown."
Chairman Jeremy Peace said: "This has been a tough decision 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. We are in a results-driven industry and felt we had no choice but 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."
First-team coach Michael Appleton will assume control of first-team affairs whilst the club looks for a replacement.