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“We place on record our gratitude for his efforts and hold nothing but good wishes for his future endeavours. This was a decision taken with regret but sadly driven by necessity.” It means the Baggies are now looking for their fourth manager in little more than 12 months. Irvine left his role on the Everton staff to take over from Pepe Mel at The Hawthorns, the Spaniard himself having only joined the club in January last year as successor to Steve Clarke. He admitted in the wake of the defeat to the Potters he did not have control over whether he kept his job after just four league wins in 19 games. Former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood, who was heavily linked with the Albion job when it was available in the summer, and former Stoke and Palace manager Tony Pulis are among the favourites to succeed Irvine. Meanwhile, the Baggies are not in advanced talks with Liverpool over the sale of striker Berahino. Reports claimed Liverpool were closing in on a £23.5million move for the England Under-21 international, but it is understood they are wide of the mark. The club said in an official statement that Irvine had been placed on garden leave and a ssistant head coach Rob Kelly, with Keith Downing, would take charge of the team for the New Year’s Day game at West Ham. Albion said they expected to be able to name Irvine’s successor by the weekend. Albion technical director Terry Burton said Irvine’s dismissal was “a decision taken with regret but sadly driven by necessity”. He said on the club’s official website: “We appointed Alan in the summer convinced that we had taken on one of the foremost coaches in the UK and nothing that has happened since then has altered our view. “The individual progress of our players such as Craig Dawson and Saido Berahino are testament to that. “But sadly that simply has not translated into results and they remain the ultimate currency of Alan’s position. “Securing a sixth season in the Premier League is the over-riding target and sometimes unpleasant decisions have to be taken to serve that imperative. “Alan has impressed everyone with his manner, dedication and diligence but he knows that results have simply not been good enough. The Baggies boss has paid the price for a run of seven defeats in nine Barclays Premier League games which has left the team in 16th place, a point above the bottom three. The last straw was Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Stoke, a third defeat in a row. Press Association West Brom have sacked head coach Alan Irvine after just half a season in charge.
Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso (L) and club president Aurelio De Laurentiis (3rdL holding trophy) celebrate with players after winning the Italian Cup.Rome, Italy | AFP | Gennaro Gattuso hailed the ‘God of football’ after he lifted his first coaching trophy as Napoli beat Juventus 4-2 on penalties to win the Italian Cup for the sixth time on Wednesday.The final had ended 0-0 in an empty Stadio Olimpico in Rome.Paulo Dybala and Danilo both missed their spot-kicks for record 13-times Italian Cup champions Juventus with Arkadiusz Milik slotting in the winner for Napoli past veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon.It is the first trophy for the southerners since 2014, and also a maiden coaching trophy for Gattuso, who took over from Carlo Ancelotti in December.For former Italy World Cup winner Gattuso his first coaching success comes after the death of his 37-year-old sister Francesca from a rare illness.“In life you cannot accept some things, but football has given me a lot and a great passion,” said the 42-year-old former AC Milan great.“I feel I have a great responsibility. I know I cannot give up and I have never done in my career.“I saw a team tonight that wanted to win, we deserved it.“There’s a God of football, who makes you reap all that you’ve sown.“I am proud of what my lads have done. Now we must continue with this spirit also in the championship, to recover the disadvantage.”Napoli have been reborn under Gattuso and are now sixth in the league table as they target the Champions League places when Serie A returns this weekend after a three-month absence due to the coronavirus.But the defeat was a worrying sign for Maurizio Sarri’s Juventus, who also lost the Italian SuperCup final last December to Lazio. The 61-year-old former Napoli coach had also been chasing his first coaching trophy in Italy, and second in his career after leading Chelsea to the Europa League last season.“There is disappointment for the lads, for the club, for the fans,” said Sarri.“At this moment we lack brilliance to make the game dangerous, and without that brilliance, it becomes more difficult.”– Ronaldo lacking sharpness –The final was played behind closed doors, in the silence of Rome’s Stadio Olimpico which should have hosted Italy versus Switzerland in Euro 2020 on June 17.Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo missed a chance to break the deadlock after five minutes, having also missed a penalty in a goalless semi-final, second leg match against AC Milan last weekend.“It’s unusual two 0-0 draws for us but that just shows the lack of sharpness after such a long break,” said Sarri.“Ronaldo’s in the same shape as the others, like Paulo Dybala and Douglas Costa, he is lacking the sharpness to do what works best for him.”Napoli had the best chances of the first half with Lorenzo Insigne’s curling effort denied and Buffon clearing Diego Demme from close range.Buffon pulled off a last-minute save on Nikola Maksimovic to send the game into penalties with extra-time scrapped to minimise injuries after the coronavirus shutdown.Sarri said he hoped the players would now “put the anger and hunger from this disappointment” into their Serie A challenge with the eight-time reigning champions just one point ahead of second-placed Lazio in the table.Share on: WhatsApp