Clarke reveals pain over West Brom sacking
Steve Clarke on Sunday expressed "deep regret" over his abrupt dismissal as manager of West Bromwich Albion and said that he had "unfinished business" at the Premier League club.
Clarke was sacked on Saturday, following a run of four consecutive defeats that left the Midlands club two points above the Premier League relegation zone.
However, the 50-year-old Scot had led West Brom to an eighth-place finish last season -- their highest in the Premier League era -- and he feels that he deserved more time.
"I believe I have unfinished business at West Bromwich Albion Football Club so it is with deep regret that I was relieved of duties as Head Coach last night," Clarke said in a statement released by the League Managers Association.
Clarke said he was "extremely proud" to have secured the club's highest ever Premier League finish and argued that West Brom were still on course to meet their objectives in the current campaign.
"Going into this season expectations were high, perhaps unrealistically so, but with it still being only our fourth consecutive season in the top flight, our primary objective had to be to establishing our status in the Barclays Premier League," he added.
"I was, and remain convinced that we were well placed to achieve this aim.
"It has been an honour to manage this club and I would like to thank the staff who have assisted me in every possible way as well as the fans who have been tremendous throughout.
"Now, I wish everyone connected with the club the very best for the future."
Former West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo and Martin Jol, who was recently dismissed by Fulham, are the bookmakers' early favourites to succeed Clarke, who had never previously managed a top-flight side.
West Brom full-back Steven Reid said the players had been shocked by Clarke's sudden departure.
"Sometimes in a dressing room you get a sense a change is coming, but this has come as a complete shock," he told BBC television programme Match of the Day Extra.
"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."
West Brom are yet to appoint a successor to Clarke, with assistant coach Keith Downing due to take control of first-team affairs on a temporary basis.