Roberto Di Matteo could return as West Brom manager

Steve Clarke dismissed by Premier League club after a run of four consecutive defeats.

Roberto Di Matteo was West Brom coach from 2009 to 2011. Giuseppe Cacace / AFP
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Roberto Di Matteo is thought to be among the top candidates to replace Steve Clarke as the coach at West Bromwich Albion, who fired Steve Clarke late Saturday after a run of four consecutive defeats.

Di Matteo was West Brom’s coach from 2009 to 2011, led the club’s promotion to the Premier League and led them for more than a season in the top flight before being dismissed. He moved to Chelsea and took over the London club after Andre Villas-Boas was dismissed, then led them to victory in the Uefa Champions League.

Others linked with the West Brom position include Martin Jol, the former Fulham coach, and Paul Clement, an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.

Steven Reid, the West Brom full-back, said on Sunday that the club’s players had been left in “complete shock” by the abrupt dismissal of Clarke.

Clarke, 50, led West Brom to an eighth-place finish last season, their highest in the Premier League era, and Reid said players had no inkling that he was about to be shown the door, even as they drifted toward the drop zone.

“There is a shock. Sometimes in a dressing room you get a sense a change is coming, but this has come as a complete shock,” he told the BBC. “In recent weeks we can only put the results down to a drop in confidence. In the Premier League, when you go on a run of three or four games without a victory it can affect the confidence of the lads and then you are looking at ways you can get back on track.”

Keith Downing, Clarke’s assistant, will run the Midlands club on an interim basis. Reid backed West Brom officials to pick the right man.

“The last three appointments have gone really well,” he said. “Roberto Di Matteo got us promotion, Roy Hodgson got us mid-table security and Steve Clarke took us to our highest Premier League position last season.”