Slaven Bilic could be sacked as early as Wednesday despite guiding West Brom to a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Tuesday evening, according to reports.
The 1-1 draw looked like offering the under-pressure Bilic a lifeline in his 100th Premier League game as a manager, but reports after the match indicated a move could still be made on Wednesday by the West Brom hierarchy.
BBC Sport claim that ‘the Baggies hierarchy have been deliberating over whether to make a change for a number of weeks as the club struggles to cope with life back in the Premier League.’
FEATURE: Prick of the Week No. 13: Danny Drinkwater booting a child
The report adds that some ‘senior figures connected with the club’ have ‘pleaded’ Bilic be afforded more time but ‘Albion’s Chinese ownership is veering towards a different conclusion’.
“I’m very calm. I love my job. I’m here and calm,” Bilic said responding to the rumours after drawing at City. “To be fair, I’m not bothered. I’m doing my job. I’m enjoying it. I’m working hard for myself, for my staff, for the players, for the club, that’s all.
“Everything else is out of my control. But to be fair, I’m just doing my best. I don’t think about other things.
“I’m not really that bothered what’s happening behind the scenes and all that, I don’t care.”
Asked if the result showed West Brom were still playing for him, Bilic said: “I do not like that cliche. The players are playing for themselves but they are listening to our game plan and it’s really good to see your players fighting like this.
“We are having this kind of atmosphere, this working atmosphere, throughout the whole season and it didn’t drop.
“Sometimes you win games, sometimes you lose them, sometimes you play better and sometimes worse, but we never had a problem with attitudes.”
The result ended a run of 13 straight league defeats for West Brom against City, though they needed two huge saves from Sam Johnstone in stoppage time to keep out Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling.
Gundogan had put City ahead 30 minutes in though it was, remarkably, the hosts’ first clear sight of goal as West Brom defended well, and got their reward as an own goal from Ruben Dias levelled the scores before the break.
“I asked the guys to believe,” Bilic said. “I told them to enjoy it, to play with a smile on their face but that starts with hard work. It was not a bonus game because every game is an opportunity. I told them to treat it as a privilege because this time last year we were in the Championship.”
Bilic spoke of using the game as a platform to build on, saying: “It is more than a point. We have to use this to get the know-how for what we have to do in every game.”
But whether he gets that chance in Saturday’s game against Aston Villa remains to be seen.