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The latest contestant to be fired from The Apprentice says he regrets not putting up a convincing fight in the boardroom and insisted it was wrong to send him home.

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Michael Copp, 32, who lives and works in Woodford Green having founded Dream Bedroom & Kitchen Designs in High Road, was given his marching orders during Wednesday’s show televised on BBC1.

The businessman faced criticism for failing to sell bottles of sauce during the condiment task.

But Michael says it was unfair to penalise him - and that the axe should have fallen on fellow contestants Katie Wright or Ricky Martin.

“It was the wrong decision to fire me because I don’t think it was the sales side that lost the task - it was the production side, which Ricky was in charge of,” he said.

“I could have kicked myself for not putting up more of a fight in the boardroom, like the others did.

“Ricky or Katie should have gone - it was a fine line between them, because what they did led to the failure of the task.

“I think they got away with it because they’re both good at putting a spin on the situation.”

Now in its eighth series. The Apprentice is known for the squabbling and back-stabbing between contestants - not least in the boardroom, where they must convince Lord Sugar that they are worthy enough to stay in the contest.

“I was expecting all of the backstabbing,” said Michael, who founded and runs a kitchen and bedroom retailer in Woodford Green. “I was expecting Ricky to pull out a few moves. Everyone is is fighting for the same thing.

“You don’t have time to stop and think about all that – everything goes so quickly.

“You get the idea, do the research, then you sell it. The time frame is so small.

“It’s hard work and you have to be a particular type of person to deal with it. But I’m a businessman, I have my own business, and am used to being in pressured situations. It’s not something I’m not used to.”

The experience was marred somewhat for Michael after suffering an illness for much of the time he featured in the programme.

“I had gastric flu for thee two of a half weeks but in all fairness, I didn’t moan about it or make a point of it in the boardroom, I just got on with it.

“It wasn’t great, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.”

Michael grew up in Upney Lane, Barking, and attended Barking Abbey School until he was 15. He left with no qualifications but after working as a bedroom fitter for a few years, he took the plunge and decided to set up his own firm.

More than nine years later, the company is still going strong and he intends to expand in the near future.

In these difficult economic times, how does he manage to survive?

It’s not easy,” he said. “If you have the right attitude and you know what you are doing, you will succeed. And that’s how it has worked for me.”

Now his Apprentice dream is over, who is he putting his money on to win?

“Duane,” he said without hesitation. “I think he could go all the way.”

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