West Bromwich Albion chairman Jeremy Peace admitted it was a difficult decision to relieve Roberto Di Matteo of his duties but feels it will be better for the club in the long run.

The Baggies sacked their Italian tactician on Sunday after falling to 17th on the table, equal on points with the relegation zone, and Peace said it was for the betterment of the West Midlands club if they part company with the manager.

"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," he said.

"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.

"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," he added.

"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."

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