LONDON: West Bromwich’s surprise achievement of a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Tuesday came too late to save manager Slaven Bilic.

The Croat led West Brom back up into the Premier League this season but all the early euphoria has vanished now his team sit next to bottom of the table with only one win in 13 games.

His sacking is the latest first managerial departure in the Premier League for six years. Assistant coaches Dean Racunica, Danilo Butorovic and Julian Dicks have also left the club.

His replacement is the veteran relegation battle specialist Sam Allardyce.

The 66-year-old has formerly managed – among others – Bolton,   Newcastle, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Everton and England (briefly) . West Brom are his 12th club in a 30-year-managerial career.
Bilic took over in 2019 but was disappointed by a summer transfer spending limit of £20m. Predictably, his team have struggled with the difference in standards, notably in defence. West Brom have the worst defensive record in the league with 26 goals conceded. Bilic had been infuriated by a number of negative VAR decisions but he is not alone in that.

His players worked hard to rescue a draw against City. An own goal from Ruben Dias brought them level after Ilkay Gundogan had opened the scoring in the 26th minute. However the result reflected not only West Brom’s fighting spirit but City’s attacking problems which continue to frustrate manager Pep Guardiola.

Bilic, asked about his job security, said: “I’m not bothered. I’m doing my job I’m enjoying it. I’m working hard for myself, for my staff, for the players, for all the club. I’m just doing my best. Everything else is out of my control.”

The immediate prospect for West Brom is intimidating. They host Aston Villa in a local derby on Sunday night then go to Liverpool on December 27.