Valencia coach axed after worst run in 97 years

MADRID • Struggling Spanish Primera Liga giants Valencia sacked coach Pako Ayestaran on Tuesday, after he failed to pick up a single point in their opening four league games of the season.

The former Liverpool assistant manager took charge in March, when Gary Neville's ill-fated three-month spell as coach came to an end. The Englishman initially guided Valencia away from the relegation zone with three wins in his first four matches. But he was sacked after a wretched run in which the team picked up a total of just 14 points in 16 games.

"Following a meeting of the board of directors, Valencia Club de Futbol have taken the decision to release Pako Ayestaran from his role as first-team coach," the club said in a statement.

  • 10pts 

    Pako Ayestaran leaves Valencia with the poorest record of any coach - only 10 points out of 36 from 12 Spanish La Liga matches.

"While the club is finalising the appointment of a new coach, full responsibility and confidence is placed in Salvador Gonzalez - "Voro" - to take charge of the first team during this interim period.

"Valencia Club de Futbol would like to thank Pako Ayestaran and his coaching staff for their commitment, effort and professionalism during their time in charge of the team. The club wish him and his team the best of luck for the future."

Ayestaran was Valencia's eighth coach since 2012, and the third to lose his job in the last year. His sacking, coming so soon after Neville's departure, is the latest blow to billionaire Peter Lim, who acquired the club in 2014 for €420 million (S$636.7 million) and cleared the club's debts of €200 million.

Despite the Singaporean's investment, Valencia are in the midst of the worst run of results in their 97-year history.

Seven consecutive losses (including three at the end of last term) have left Los Che rooted to the bottom of the Primera Liga table.

Ayestaran initially joined Valencia in February as an assistant to Neville. However, he replaced the former Manchester United captain just a month later when Neville had posted the worst record of any coach in their history. But the 53- year-old Spaniard now holds that unwanted honour, taking a mere 10 points in 12 games - winning three, drawing one and losing eight.

Voro, who took charge of two games between Nuno Espirito Santo's sacking and Neville's appointment last season, is expected to lead the side for today's Primera Liga clash at home to Alaves.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2016, with the headline 'Valencia coach axed after worst run in 97 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe