Valencia sack coach after disappointing start to season

Madrid, Dec 17: Spanish BBV Primera Liga side Valencia sacked coach Miroslav Djukic after a disappointing start to the season Monday.

Djukic, who is the third coach to be sacked in the Spanish top flight this season after Jose Luis Mendilibar (Osasuna) and Pepe Mel (Betis), leaves after just 23 matches in charge after joining from Valladolid over the summer, according to Xinhua.

He leaves in the wake of a 3-0 defeat away to Atletico Madrid Sunday night, which leaves Valencia ninth in the league table with 20 points from 16 matches.

However, Djukic had steered the club through the group phase of the Europa League as group winners and many will have sympathy with the former player, who had been handed a difficult task after another summer in which the club sold key players in order to try and lower its crippling debts.

Djukic replaced Ernesto Valverde, who left the club after a short, but successful, spell this summer to coach Athletic Club Bilbao and his short time in charge has seen a change of club president, sporting director and the sale of striker Roberto Soldado.

However, Valencia is a hugely demanding club after a stuttering start to the season. His position was always at risk with the feeling that he was always just two bad results away from the sack.

That is exactly what has happened and the club has decided to sack him after a 0-0 draw away to third tier Gimnastic Tarragona, a disappointing draw in the Europa League at home to Kuban Krasnodar and Sunday’s defeat in the Vicente Calderon.

Andre Vilas Boas, sacked by Tottenham Hotspurs earlier in the day, is likely to be installed as the new favourite for the post, while Valencia’s next two games are the return leg against Gimnastic and a league match at home to Real Madrid next weekend.

IANS