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Birmingham boss Clotet to leave at end of season

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London (AFP)

Birmingham boss Pep Clotet will leave the Championship club at the end of this season after only a year in charge.

Clotet joined Birmingham as assistant to Garry Monk in March 2018 before replacing him as manager in June last year.

The 43-year-old Spaniard was initially given the job in a caretaker role before being appointed on a permanent basis in December.

The club said in a statement that they had "agreed to allow the 43-year-old to explore other coaching opportunities."

Clotet had been under pressure after a series of poor results earlier this season, but a 10-match unbeaten prior to the coronavirus suspension hauled Birmingham away from the relegation zone.

"It's been a really difficult decision to take because it's a privilege to be part of the Blues family, but it's the best step for everyone and it allows the club to continue to move forward with their vision and strategy," Clotet said on Monday.

"I'm very grateful to the club, its board and the supporters for placing their faith in me to lead the team this season and to face up to the challenges involved in what's been a key transition under really demanding circumstances.

"It's now time for us to focus on the remainder of the season and for the club to continue building on these foundations."

Birmingham will resume the Championship season later this month in 16th place.

"Pep will depart with our very best wishes," Birmingham chief executive Dong Ren said.

"It's a decision that is filled with sadness for us both. We value Pep very highly and we know how much he loves this club."

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