Sam Allardyce has urged his West Brom side to go down fighting as he prepares for his final game in charge of the Baggies against Leeds at Elland Road.
Allardyce intends to take a break after experiencing the first Premier League relegation of his managerial career but is determined to end his ill-fated reign on a positive note.
The Baggies could claw up one place in the table with a positive result in west Yorkshire and Allardyce insisted: “There is still the pride and professionalism to try to finish the season as best you can.
“Sadly for us we have lost our last two difficult games, and I’d hate to finish the final game by losing that as well, because people might think they’ve given up, and they haven’t given up.
“We’ve been fighting until the very end, even though our fate has been decided, to give something back to the fans at West Brom by winning a match.”
Allardyce’s departure was announced after the midweek loss at West Ham following discussions that the 66-year-old insisted were “amicable”.
Former Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder is already in the frame as his replacement, and Allardyce believes any successor must be well-equipped for the long-haul.
“West Brom have got to get the best possible manager to get them back in the Premier League, and I think there needs to be a manager in place for five or six years,” added Allardyce.
“It (the club) has to start re-establishing that longer foundation of where it wants to go and how it can get there. Obviously the main priority is to get back into the Premier League, then think of not just the short-term but the long-term future and develop and grow it.”
Allardyce is full of praise for the way in which Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa has ensured his own side have avoided the fate of West Brom and gone on to cement their place back in the top flight.
But he believes Leeds’ reputation as a gung-ho attacking unit fails to take into account the subtle changes undertaken by Bielsa to make his side much more resilient.
Allardyce said: “Certainly in the early part of the season they just played one way and it didn’t matter if they lost 4-0 or they won 4-0.
“I think he’s done a marvellous job as a coach, looking at that first half of the season, saying ‘how can I modify that?’, and he’s done that from a defensive point of view because they are now letting in far fewer goals.”