Peace defends Di Matteo decision

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Chairman Jeremy Peace is adamant West Brom are not part of football's 'hire and fire' culture despite their surprise axing of Roberto Di Matteo.

The Baggies placed their Italian manager on gardening leave after their 13th defeat in 18 games, Saturday's 3-0 reverse at Manchester City, left them only two points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

"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 Barclays Premier League, said Peace.

First-team coach Michael Appleton has been placed in charge on a caretaker basis while a new manager is sought.

League Managers Association chief executive officer Richard Bevan was critical of the decision, which came just a matter of months after Di Matteo led the Baggies to promotion back to the top flight.

"Roberto represents yet another victim of the 'hire and fire' mentality that pervades in our game," Bevan said in a statement issued by the LMA. "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."


But Peace defended the club's approach and said: "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.

"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."

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