Tony Pulis confirmed as West Brom manager

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Safe bet: Pulis has never been relegated as a manager and helped Palace to 11th place last season, leading to the Premier League manager of the year award.

Tony Pulis was appointed head coach of English Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion on Thursday. 


Pulis has agreed a two-and-a-half year deal with the Baggies and will take charge after Thursday's Premier League game at West Ham United. The former Stoke City and Crystal Palace manager, is the fourth man at the West Brom helm within a year. 



Pulis has never been relegated as a manager and helped Palace to 11th place last season, leading to the Premier League manager of the year award.




His first game in charge will be the Baggies' FA Cup meeting with Conference side Gateshead at the Hawthorns on Saturday.



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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley begins search for new manager

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On the lookout: Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is weighing up his managerial options.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley has launched the search for a new manager with Alan Pardew’s departure for Crystal Palace imminent.

– Alan Pardew all set for Crystal Palace post

– Neil Warnock's managerial career in pictures

– #360transfers: From Podolski to Januzaj – 10 players who could leave the EPL in January

The sportswear tycoon, currently on holiday in Barbados, had already put the wheels in motion amid fevered speculation over the identity of the seventh permanent boss to occupy the St James’ Park hot seat during his seven and a half year reign to date.

Many of the names thrown up by the rumour mill have already been discounted by sources on Tyneside, including skipper Fabricio Coloccini and ex-York boss Nigel Worthington.

Heading south: Alan Pardew is set for Crystal Palace.

Managing director Lee Charnley is the man conducting the search on Ashley’s behalf, although the club is unlikely to make a snap decision and Pardew’s assistant John Carver and first-team coach Steve Stone will take care of team affairs for tomorrow’s Premier League fixture against Burnley and the FA Cup third round trip to Leicester two days later.

Carver, who will be without striker Papiss Cisse for three games after he accepted a Football Association violent conduct charge
for elbowing Everton defender Seamus Coleman on Sunday, could be considered an outside candidate for the job on a a permanent basis, although current Hull manager and fellow Geordie Steve Bruce may have stronger claims for the post.

There has been popular support for the club’s football development manager Peter Beardsley, while St Etienne boss Christophe Galtier has been linked with the club on several occasions.

However, Ajax manager Frank de Boer has ruled himself out and Ashley’s unwillingness to pay compensation makes a move for Derby’s Steve McClaren, who signed a three-year deal in August, unlikely.

But what is clear is that Newcastle are unlikely to deviate from the club’s established master plan as they look for a way forward.

That blueprint, which involves recruiting players with potential, developing them and selling them at a profit, as the club did with
Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy, is managed by chief scout Graham Carr, who like the manager, was handed an eight-year contract back in 2012, and he is likely to have a significant influence in identifying the number one choice.

Reports have suggested that Pardew decided to call it a day after being told there would not be significant investment in the squad during the forthcoming transfer window.

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Manchester City can defend Premier League title, says Samir Nasri

Alam Khan 30/12/2015
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Where did we go wrong?: Samir Nasri with Manuel Pellegrini.

Manchester City midfielder has reiterated his belief that the Citizens can handle the pressure in defending their Premier League crown. 

– Manuel Pellegrini: Manchester City 'switched off' after two-goal lead

– Premier League: Lukasz Fabianski howler gifts Liverpool biggest win of the season

Having failed to do it two seasons ago, when they could not catch neighbours United, Manuel Pellegrini’s champions are facing a similar test of character this time with Chelsea leading the way.

A 2-2 draw with lowly Burnley on Sunday, having been two goals up, saw City fail to cut the advantage to one point instead of three and sparked concerns about their challenge. 

But Nasri recalls how they overtook Liverpool in the run-in last season and is is confident of City's ability to chase down rivals Chelsea. 

“At this club we’ve been through all the different situations," he said.

“We know how to deal with the pressure. We know that we are good at being second and chasing someone, we’ve done it before.

“We all know what happened two seasons ago and it’s an example for us. We know what we need to do, what not to do as well. We learn from our mistakes.

“I don’t know how many points we were behind United at this stage, but we finished 11 behind them. I know this will not happen.

“All we want is to win the league again – and we’ll do everything possible to do it again.

“Everyone is stronger. We get older, we get more mature and stronger mentally.”

Nasri also dismissed the result against the Clarets – which denied them a club record 10th successive victory – as a blip.

“We were aware of the result of Chelsea and it was a great chance for us to be just one point behind. And we were winning 2-0 at home  against a team who are playing for survival,” he added.

“There is no lesson to learn for Manchester City against Burnley at home. We just have to be clinical.”

City hope to have Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure back from injury in time to face Sunderland on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho appears likely to escape Football Association sanctions for claiming Chelsea are the victims of a clear campaign after referee Anthony Taylor booked Cesc Fabregas for diving against Southampton.

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