June 29, 2020 / 8:25 PM / 5 days ago

Valencia sack coach Celades following back-to-back defeats

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Valencia v FC Barcelona - Mestalla, Valencia, Spain - January 25, 2020. Valencia coach Albert Celades before the match. REUTERS/Albert Gea

(Reuters) - Valencia have sacked coach Albert Celades and appointed sporting director Voro until the end of the season, the La Liga club said in a statement on Monday.

The team have picked up only four points in five matches since the season re-started after the COVID-19 hiatus, slipping way behind in contention for Champions League qualification.

Back-to-back defeats by Eibar and Villarreal respectively left them eighth in the standings on 46 points, eight behind fourth-placed Sevilla with six games remaining.

Valencia appointed Celades last September after taking the surprising decision to dispense with Marcelino, who had led the club to successive top-four finishes and ended an 11-year wait for a major trophy by guiding them to win the Copa del Rey.

Celades had never previously been a first team coach at club level, building his reputation as Spain’s under-21 coach and as an assistant to Julen Lopetegui with the Spain side and Real Madrid.

He made a difficult start in losing his first game in charge 5-2 to Barcelona but improved his reputation by taking the team into the last 16 of the Champions League, where they were eventually knocked out by Atalanta 8-4 on aggregate.

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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