(Reuters) - Slaven Bilic was hugely disappointed at being sacked by West Bromwich Albion but says he leaves the Premier League club with his "head held high".
Bilic was the first top-flight manager in England to be fired this season after his team picked up only seven points in 13 games to leave them second from bottom. He was replaced by former England boss Sam Allardyce.
"I am hugely disappointed to have left West Brom," Bilic said in a statement to the Daily Mail. "I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to all the players, my hard-working coaching team and our dedicated staff.
"In what has been a really difficult year for so many, those special fans have stood alongside us throughout it all. My staff and I are grateful for having had the privilege to serve them.
"I am sad that it hasn't worked out in the way we wanted. But I leave with my head held high ... I genuinely wish the club well for the future."
West Brom's next game is a West Midlands derby against Aston Villa on Sunday.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)