West Brom expectations 'unrealistic' says Steve Clarke after run of bad form leads to dismissal

Clarke was dismissed after a year-and-a-half in the job and leaves the Baggies sitting in 16th place after a run of four straight defeats

Steve Clarke has suggested following his sacking by West Brom that expectations of what the club could achieve this season were unrealistically high going into the campaign.

Clarke lost his job as Albion head coach on Saturday following a 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Cardiff, the midlands outfit's fourth straight loss.

The 50-year-old Scot departed with the Baggies 16th in the table, two points above the relegation zone and having won only seven of their 34 top-flight matches in 2013.

After his appointment as their boss in the summer of 2012, Clarke - in his first managerial role - guided Albion to their highest-ever Premier League finish of eighth last term.

And in a statement released on Sunday by the League Managers Association, Clarke said: "Going into this season expectations were high, perhaps unrealistically so.

"With it still being only our fourth consecutive season in the top flight, our primary objective had to be to establishing our status in the Barclays Premier League.

"I was, and remain, convinced that we were well placed to achieve this aim."

Reflecting on his dismissal, Clarke said: "I believe I have unfinished business at West Brom so it is with deep regret that I was relieved of duties as head coach.

"It was certainly a challenge to succeed Roy Hodgson after he successfully guided the club to a 10th place finish in 2011/12.

"It goes without saying that I was extremely proud to have built on that achievement by securing the club's highest-ever finish in the Barclays Premier League and for over 30 years in the top flight by finishing eighth in 2012/13."

"It has been an honour to manage this club."

Clarke's assistant Kevin Keen was placed on gardening leave by West Brom at the same time as him, and joint-assistant head coach Keith Downing will assume control of first-team affairs while the club search for a new permanent boss.

Giving his thoughts on the news of Clarke's dismissal, Albion defender Steven Reid told the BBC's Match of the Day 2 Extra: "There is a real sense of shock in the dressing room.

"To have such a disappointing 2013 - us as players have got to take responsibility for that.

"If the manager goes, you look at yourself and whether you could have done any more as a squad."

Roberto Di Matteo, who guided West Brom into the top flight in 2010 but was sacked in February 2011 and went on to win the FA Cup and Champions League during a stint in charge at Chelsea in 2012, is among those being mentioned as potential candidates to fill the vacancy.

Another is ex-Albion player Martin Jol, recently dismissed from his post as manager of Fulham.

PA

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