Sam Allardyce refused to commit his future to West Brom after suffering his first relegation from the Premier League following defeat at Arsenal.
West Brom are the eighth club Allardyce has managed in the competition but a 3-1 loss at the Emirates Stadium saw them condemned to the drop.
The writing had been on the wall for some time and, despite a good start in London, goals from Emile Smith Rowe and Nicolas Pepe had them on the ropes.
11 – Only Birmingham City (12) have suffered more top-flight relegations than West Brom (11), whilst their manager Sam Allardyce has been relegated from the Premier League for the very first time, having managed in 17 different seasons in the competition. Curtains. pic.twitter.com/wVfY2WZMQT
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 9, 2021
Matheus Pereira reduced the arrears with a memorable strike but Willian’s first Arsenal goal from a late free-kick sealed West Brom’s fate.
Allardyce has 12 months remaining on his deal but has yet to reveal whether he will look to lead the promotion charge next season after confirming last month relegation would mean both he and the club now have the option of a break clause.
‘Too early to talk about future’
Speaking at his post-match press conference, the 66-year-old said: “I am not going to answer a question on whether I am staying or going – it will just be a waste of time because I won’t be saying whether I am going or staying.
“It’s too early to consider or talk about. It’s about the disappointment. Tonight it’s about having a day or two off and getting ready for Liverpool.
“The most important thing for me and the players is to give everything we have got to try and finish the season with pride in your own performance and your own professionalism.
“The big challenge for us is can we lift ourselves like we have done throughout the season.”
‘Words cannot describe it’
Asked how much his first Premier League relegation was feeling, the former England boss added: “Words cannot describe it.
“It’s not sunk in yet, but I’m sure I’ll wake up tomorrow and realise the situation. I’m bitterly disappointed we’re not still in the fight.
“I’m not saying we would have avoided relegation but we should have been closer, we should have taken it down to the last three games, based on how we performed. The creating of chances has been there but the converting has not.
“We had [enough] time to pull it round.
“Our real problem was not beating the bottom-six sides when we came up against them. That would have given us a better chance of survival. The results against Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City should have been bonus points.”
📊West Brom have suffered their 5th relegation from @premierleague
It is the first PL relegation of Sam Allardyce’s career – West Brom picked up 19 points in his 22 PL games in charge (W4 D7 L11), joint 3rd fewest since his appointment pic.twitter.com/WNwixlGmMv
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) May 9, 2021
Arteta: Out attitude is non-negotiable
For the hosts, this was a positive response to their Europa League semi-final exit at the hands of Villarreal on Thursday night and just about kept alive their hopes of securing European football in some guise next season.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said: “It is always the best way to put a remedy to the pain that we had – to win the game, to score the three beautiful goals that we have done.
“We created so many more chances and, as well, I think when we conceded the goal we looked nervy for a period – but overall, not going through to the final, it is always very important to win.
“I think we have a huge responsibility to win every game that we play when we represent this football club.
“And as well, if anybody can question anything – our level, our ability, whatever it is – they can, but our attitude is a non-negotiable and right up to the end we have to try win our matches and see what happens.”