West Brom sack Roberto Di Matteo

West Brom have sacked Roberto Di Matteo and placed him on gardening leave following yesterday's 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.

The result was the Baggies' 13th defeat in 18 games in all competitions and left them only two points clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

First-team coach Michael Appleton will take over on a caretaker basis while a replacement is sought.

Di Matteo's assistant Eddie Newton and head of sports science Ade Mafe have left the club as part of today's move.

Chairman Jeremy Peace said: "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.

"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. That is why we felt compelled to act now.

"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.

"We now begin the search to find a new head coach who will fit into our existing set-up and work under our sporting and technical director, Dan Ashworth, with a view to taking the club forward."

Albion lost just two of their first nine league games following their return to the Barclays Premier League in the summer.

But they have won just three times since, losing five successive league games prior to a 3-2 win over Blackpool and also taking just one point from their last three games.

Peace continued: "On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Roberto for his efforts over the past 19 months, particularly for his contribution towards last season's promotion success and our very promising start to the current campaign. We wish him and his family well for the future.

"Roberto embraced the structure in which we wanted him to work and he has been a good colleague.

"However, we are in a results-driven industry and felt we had no choice but to act now."

Appleton has served West Brom in a variety of coaching roles since injury ended his playing days with the club over eight years ago.

Ashworth said: "First-team affairs are in the very capable hands of Michael Appleton. He has gained all the coaching badges available, including the UEFA Pro Licence, and knows the club inside out.

"Most importantly, he has earned the full respect of the players and everyone else at the football club.

"I have worked closely with Roberto since June 2009 and I would like to thank him, Eddie and Ade for all their hard work during this period and wish them well for the future."