Di Matteo blasts Baggies axe
Boss upset at sacking after leading Baggies to top flight last term
Last Updated: 06/02/11 5:47pm
Di Matteo: On gardening leave
Former West Brom boss Roberto Di Matteo has hit out at his sacking after receiving the axe on Sunday.
The Italian has been placed on gardening leave by the Baggies after Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Manchester City - their 13th loss in 18 games - left Albion only two points clear of the drop zone.
Di Matteo's assistant Eddie Newton and head of sports science Ade Mafe have also left the club, with first-team coach Michael Appleton taking over on a caretaker basis while a new manager is sought.
But the Italian is disappointed not to have been given the chance of keeping the Baggies in the top flight after leading them there last term.
A statement released by Di Matteo through the League Manager's Association read: "I was extremely surprised and disappointed to be relieved of my duties today.
"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 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.
"I would like to thank the staff at the club and of course the most loyal and fantastic fans, with whom I had a great relationship during my time at the club."
The LMA themselves hit out at the sacking, with chief executive officer Richard Bevan saying: "Roberto represents yet another victim of the 'hire and fire' mentality that pervades in our game.
"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 panacea.
"In West Brom's case that means showing support and loyalty to the manager that brought the club automatic promotion back to the Barclays Premier League last season, at the first time of asking, and was the league's manager of the month only four months ago."