Bilic sacked after City draw; Lampard rues over complacency - GulfToday

Bilic sacked after City draw; Lampard rues over complacency


Manchester City's head coach Pep Guardiola (right) and his counterpart West Bromwich Albion's manager Slaven Bilic gesture to their players during their EPL match on Tuesday. Reuters

Gulf Today Report

Premier League strugglers West Bromwich fired their coach Slaven Bilic on Wednesday, a day after his team’s 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Tuesday.

West Brom are at next-to-last place in the Premier League after collecting only seven points from their opening 13 games in their first season back in the top division.


A draw against City wasn’t enough to save the Croatian as he became the first Premier League manager to lose his job this season.


The 52-year-old has been in charge for 18 months and led the club to promotion from the Championship at the end of his first season as manager.


West Brom’s sole victory came against bottom side Sheffield United late last month while they drew four games and lost eight.


“West Bromwich Albion have today parted company with head coach Slaven Bilic,” the club said in a statement.


"Albion would like to thank Slaven and his coaching staff for their efforts in achieving promotion last season and wishes them all well in the future.


"The club will make no further comment at this time." “Assistant coaches, Dean Racunica and Danilo Butorovic, and first team coach Julian Dicks have also left the club with immediate effect.” Bilic took over the reins at West Brom in 2019 and was tasked with gaining promotion from the Championship to the top flight.


City-West-Brom-players-750x450Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan (centre) scores against West Bromwich during their EPL match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Tuesday. Reuters


Although results had been generally poor this term Bilic had been given little funding to bring in players in the close season. His budget for transfers was limited at £20 million ($27 million).


Bilic's relations with the board appeared tense from the start of the campaign with no discussions taking place about extending or renewing his contract which was due to run out at the end of this season.


Former England manager Sam Allardyce is among the favourites to fill the vacancy.


The 66-year-old's last managerial post was with Everton, who he left in 2018.


Media reports suggest Allardyce will be offered an 18-month contract.


In a sign that his appointment may be imminent, he has cancelled scheduled work with a radio station.


Bilic's sacking makes him the latest first managerial departure in a Premier League season for six years, since it took 18 games for Cardiff City to dismiss Neil Warnock in the 2014-15 season.


'We are not machines' Ilkay Gundogan blamed a congested calendar in a unique season for City's failure to match the standards they have set under Pep Guardiola after a draw with West Brom dealt another blow to their title challenge.


Gundogan appeared to have opened the floodgates on the half hour mark, but Ruben Dias's own goal two minutes before half-time proved costly as City's problems in front of goal continued in a goalless second-half.


City have won just five of their opening 12 league games of the season, a far cry from the combined 198 points they registered in two title-winning campaigns under Guardiola in 2017/18 and 2018/19.


Even last season when finishing distant runners-up to Liverpool, City scored 102 league goals, but the stale domination that has characterised a lacklustre campaign was in evidence all night as they struggled to break through West Brom's deep-lying defence.


"We had great years where we played great football in the past so we set the level high," said Gundogan. "All over Europe all the big teams are struggling with the tight fixtures and it's not going to be easier in the next weeks.


"That's an explanation why it is not always as easy as the expectations people have for us. We are not machines but we also know when we have not played our best game."


"These games you have to win, we know it, so we drop points," admitted Guardiola. "It's not far away the top of the league, but you have to win games. Still we are in early December and there are a lot of games to play."


"We created enough to win the game. We did everything but in the end you have to score," added Guardiola.


"We have to be optimistic that in the end we will score goals." Wolves pip Chelsea Frank Lampard believes Chelsea have become complacent after the Blues blew a lead to lose 2-1 at Wolves and suffer back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time during his reign in charge.


Twice in four days Chelsea have wasted the chance to move top of the Premier League after losing for the first time in 18 matches at Everton on Saturday.


Lampard himself called into question his side's title credentials after a 1-0 loss at Goodison Park at the weekend and believes his players may have got carried away with their unbeaten run.


"Performance is what gives you results. We were playing very well, on a long unbeaten run and then maybe the lads think 'we're playing well'. The minute you think you're playing well, things like this can happen," said a visibly irked Lampard after Pedro Neto broke clear to win the game in the 95th minute.


"If you're not playing well which we weren't tonight, hang on to the 1-0. Play, control the game, and don't allow counter attacks like we did."


There was more evidence that Chelsea are still a team in transition after a £220 million ($294 million) transfer spending spree as two of their big money signings, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz, again failed to sparkle.


Lampard's men remain in fifth, three points adrift of Tottenham and Liverpool at the top, ahead of a clash between the top two at Anfield on Wednesday.


Victory was no more than Wolves deserved as they bounced back from two consecutive defeats since losing top scorer Raul Jimenez to a fractured skull.


"We reacted well," said Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo.


"I think we were always in the game. We were well organised and second-half we played really well." Chelsea disappoint Other than bursts from Christian Pulisic past the struggling Nelson Semedo, Chelsea created precious little from open play.


Set-pieces caused Wolves more problems as Olivier Giroud headed over when he should have hit the target before Kurt Zouma crashed a header from another corner off the crossbar.


Giroud was razor sharp four minutes into the second-half as he volleyed Ben Chilwell's cross towards goal and the ball slipped through Rui Patricio's grasp and just over the line.



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