Football: Valencia sack coach Pako Ayestaran after four straight losses

Valencia coach Pako Ayestaran's stint at the club was short-lived.
Valencia coach Pako Ayestaran's stint at the club was short-lived. PHOTO: LAZARO DE LA PENA

VALENCIA (Reuters) - Valencia have sacked coach Pako Ayestaran less than six months after handing him the job following a dire start to the season with the club propping up the La Liga table.

They have yet to earn a point after four defeats and were beaten 2-1 by Athletic Bilbao on Sunday after taking the lead.

"After today's board meeting, Valencia Football Club have taken the decision to relieve coach Pako Ayestaran of his duties," the club said in a statement on Tuesday. "The decision was taken after analysing the team's current sporting situation and the results obtained."

Former Valencia defender Voro Gonzalez has been named as interim coach while the club find a successor to Ayestaran.

A former assistant manager to Rafa Benitez at Valencia, Ayestaran rejoined the club in February as assistant to Gary Neville and was named as his immediate successor in March when the former England international was sacked.

Neville had posted the worst record of any coach in the club's history but Ayestaran has now got that unwanted honour, taking 10 points in 12 games, winning three, drawing one and losing eight. Neville picked up 14 points in 16.

Although Ayestaran lost the first game after succeeding Neville, things began to look up after three successive victories, including a 2-1 win at eventual champions Barcelona.

Despite his team losing the final three games of the season, Ayestaran was handed a new contract until 2018.

The club offloaded 18 players in the close season, including influential Germany centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, Portugal midfielder Andre Gomes and strikers Paco Alcacer and Alvaro Negredo for a total of over €100 million (S$151 million).

They brought in only seven new players with the most high profile being former Manchester United winger Nani and defender Eliaquim Mangala, who was signed on loan from Manchester City.

Ayestaran is the club'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 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.