Leeds call-in Big Sam for last-ditch attempt to secure Premier League status

May 3 – Leeds United have become the latest struggling Premier League club to sack the manager in desperation at trying to avoid relegation.

Javi Gracia, appointed only in February, has been dismissed and replaced by the veteran Sam Allardyce in what smacks of a panic move.

Gracia has been shown the door after just 10 weeks and 12 games in charge of which he won only three.

Allardyce, 68, is tasked with guiding 17th-placed Leeds, who are out of the bottom three only on goal difference, to safety with four tough-looking games remaining, the first of which is the small matter of leaders Manchester City on Saturday.

“I was shocked. I never thought at this stage of the season [this would happen]. I thought there would be no jobs,” Allardyce said.

“I could have done with more time, but we’ve got four games and hopefully I can keep this fabulous club in the Premier League.”

Gracia was appointed on a “flexible contract” on February 21 two weeks after the dismissal of former boss Jesse Marsch, who himself was sacked less than a year after replacing Marcelo Bielsa.

Allardyce, who was once briefly England manager, has been out of management since the end of the 2020-21 season when his West Brom side were relegated from the Premier League – the first top-flight relegation of his managerial career.

Speaking to Talksport about the “difficult games” ahead, Allardyce added: “We can only do what we can try and achieve, from my point of view, that is stopping the goals from going in. We’ve conceded 28 goals in the last 10 or 12 games and that has to stop if we’re going to get out of trouble. I’m doing all I can with the staff to try and get the players out of trouble.”

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