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Di Matteo surprised by axe

Axed West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo has revealed his shock at being relieved of his duties after the side lost 3-0 to Man City.

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''I was extremely surprised and disappointed to be relieved of my duties today,'' he 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. I would like to thank the staff at the club, it has been a pleasure to work with you, and of course I would like the thank the most loyal and fantastic fans at West Brom with whom I had a great relationship during my time at the club.''

Richard Bevan, CEO of the League Managers' Association vented his anger at the decision to rmove another young manager from the game.

''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 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 4 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. It is a great shame that he is not being given that chance.''


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