The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Premier League club West Brom says Pepe Mel leaves as manager
Pepe Mel became the latest Premier League manager to lose his job after he was fired by West Bromwich on Monday, a day after the team secured top-flight football for a fifth straight season.
The Spanish coach was hired on an 18-month deal in January and managed to keep West Brom up despite a record of three wins in 17 matches in charge.
Mel said last week he would be "extremely happy" to stay on at West Brom for next season, but the club announced his departure after holding talks with the board on Monday.
"Both Pepe and the club set out with the best intentions of making the appointment work," said Richard Garlick, West Brom's sporting and technical director. "However, having reflected on events both on and off the field during our talks today, it became apparent that it was in the best interests of both parties for there to be an amicable parting."
West Brom finished the season three points above the relegation zone, with Mel taking over from the fired Steve Clarke with the team two points and two places above the bottom three.
"Although we have managed to achieve a fifth successive season of Premier League football, it has been a very disappointing campaign and lessons have been learned," Garlick said. "We aim to find the most suitable candidate who, with the support of the structure we have had in place for six years and are presently strengthening, will enable the club to be more competitive next season."
A record 10 managers lost their jobs at Premier League clubs this season. West Brom, a club with a track record of giving their managers time, has removed two of them in the space of five months.
Mel led Real Betis into this season's Europa League but was fired by the Spanish club on Dec. 2, a month before taking over at West Brom, which was attracted by his supposed "attractive and positive" brand of football.
With West Brom involved in a relegation fight since the day he joined, his tenure has been more about getting results over performances and he has also had to deal with the fallout of an incident which saw Nicolas Anelka suspended for celebrating a goal with a racially aggravated gesture. Anelka left the club in March.
Assistant head coach Keith Downing, who was interim manager after Clarke's dismissal in December, will stay at West Brom.
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