VALENCIA • Valencia yesterday accused Cesare Prandelli of abandoning their ship - less than 24 hours after the Italian's shock resignation as coach.
The former Italy boss called it quits on Friday following one win in eight La Liga matches in charge.
He took over on Oct 1 on a contract until June 30, 2018, becoming Valencia's seventh coach since Singaporean businessman Peter Lim bought the club in May 2014.
Salvador "Voro" Gonzalez, a senior member of the coaching staff, will stand in as caretaker with the club fourth from bottom in the table with 12 points from 15 games, above the relegation zone only on goal difference.
"Cesare Prandelli has communicated... his irrevocable decision to resign from his position as coach, as of Friday," the club said in a statement, adding it was surprised at the timing of his departure given that the January transfer window opens today.
The statement on Friday also said that the 59-year-old "expressed that he did not feel able to improve the team's results".
In a press conference yesterday, Valencia executive director Anil Murthy pulled no punches.
Valencia have had as many men in charge (Pako Ayestaran, Salvador Gonzalez and Cesare Prandelli) as they have La Liga wins this season.
Number of games Prandelli managed at Valencia.
Prandelli is the ninth manager to leave Valencia since July 2012.
Valencia are the only team in Europe's top five leagues who have yet to keep a clean sheet this campaign.
"It was a surprise to see Prandelli leave the ship one week before the transfer market opens," he was quoted as saying by Spanish media.
"Twenty-four hours ago, I met with Prandelli to talk about signings, so I was surprised to see him leave.
"Voro has taken a step forward. Now we want unity."
According to Murthy and Valencia sporting director Suso Garcia Pitarch, Prandelli had threatened to resign if the club refused to sign four to five experienced players in the upcoming window.
However, the "high costs" of those transfer fees meant Valencia were unable to meet his demands.
"What kind of person expects a club to guarantee five signings of players that are more than 26 years old," asked Murthy.
Suso added that Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel and Juventus forward Simone Zaza, currently on loan at West Ham, were targets Valencia could bring in but Prandelli had to choose one.
He opted to leave. Few would have anticipated that his tenure would last just 91 days, particularly given his optimism during his appointment when he said it was "an honour to be in such a glorious club and we want to take it back there".
After a 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon in Prandelli's first match, Valencia have lost four and drawn three games in La Liga although they beat Leganes home and away in the King's Cup.
Valencia are one of Spain's leading clubs with six top-flight titles, the last in 2003-04. They have spent just one season outside La Liga since 1931 but are enduring their worst start to a league season.
Coach after coach, including former England defender Gary Neville last season, has fallen by the wayside in recent times.
Prandelli replaced Pako Ayestaran who was sacked with the worst record of any coach in the club's 98-year history after taking 10 points from 12 matches. He followed Neville, who has the second worst record, into the job in March.
Prandelli had the coaching experience, with Fiorentina, Galatasaray and Italy, who he led to second place at Euro 2012, that Neville and Ayestaran did not possess.
Twenty-four hours ago, I met Prandelli to talk about signings, so I was surprised to see him leave.
ANIL MURTHY, Valencia executive director.
However, having been in charge for two months, the Italian gave an insight into the difficulties he had turning round the team's performances and player attitudes, saying: "Those that want to stay here need to prove they deserve to. It's not a problem of tactics, it's a problem of personality."
That was before yet another defeat, 3-2 at Real Sociedad on Dec 10, in what proved to be Prandelli's last match at the helm.