Michael O’Neill not a contender for West Brom job as Baggies seek top-flight experience

Michael O’Neill not a contender for West Brom job as Baggies seek top-flight experience

West Brom want a manager with Premier League experience to replace the sacked Tony Pulis.

The Baggies axed Pulis on Monday after just two wins in his last 21 league games following Saturday's 4-0 defeat to Chelsea.

Press Association Sport understands Albion ideally want a new manager with top-flight experience and are keen to appoint as soon as they can.

But the Baggies recognise the process of appointing Pulis' successor may not be easy and are also prepared to take their time if necessary to get the right man.

Despite being the bookies’ early frontrunner, Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is not a contender for the job but ex-England boss Sam Allardyce has been already heavily linked.

Owner Guochuan Lai watched the Chelsea defeat after flying over from China for a pre-arranged trip.

Lai, who bought the club last year, has flown back to China and will be aided by chairman John Williams during the manager search.

The owner trusts former Blackburn chairman Williams and will not be swayed by a big name.

Assistant head coach Gary Megson, who was manager between 2000 and 2004 and returned to the club in the summer, has been put in caretaker charge.

Albion are just a point and a place above the relegation zone after an 11-game winless run in all competitions ahead of Saturday's trip to Tottenham.

Chairman Williams told the club's official website: "These decisions are never taken lightly but always in the interests of the club.

"We are in a results business and, over the back end of last season and this season to date, ours have been very disappointing.

"We would like to place on record our appreciation of Tony's contribution and hard work during a period of transition for the club which included a change of ownership. We wish him well in his future endeavours."

Pulis succeeded Alan Irvine when the Baggies were a point above the relegation zone in January 2015, eventually leading them to 13th.

They finished 14th in 2015-16 and came 10th last season but failed to win any of their final nine matches.

Pulis defended his record at West Brom before losing to Chelsea and he also received support from Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola after his dismissal.

"A big hug for Tony, as for (Slaven) Bilic," Guardiola said.

"Everybody knows, when we don't have results, managers here win the Premier League and months later they will be sacked. We have to accept that and work with that situation.

"I am a little bit disappointed because I have a great relationship with Tony Pulis. Every time we went against West Brom he was an amazing man, so gentle. Always we drink a good red wine and hopefully we can do it again in the future."


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