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Koeman edges closer to Valencia trapdoor

SoccerNews in La Liga 21 Apr 2008


Valencia coach Ronald Koeman faces a nervous wait to discover whether or not he will remain in charge after the humiliating 5-1 defeat at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

The club, arguably the third biggest in Spain after Real Madrid and Barcelona, have slumped 15th place and are now just two points away from the relegation zone after one win in their last 10 La Liga outings.

“We are not going to take hasty decisions. We need calm. I’m more worried over the state of mind of the players,” said Valencia president Agustin Morera.

Morera gave Koeman a stay of execution of at least one day but his future is sure to be discussed at Valencia’s weekly board meeting, scheduled for Monday night, despite the club winning the Spanish Cup last Wednesday.

Koeman himself was asked whether he thought he was going to be on the bench when Valencia plays host to Osasuna next Sunday.

“I’m not going to answer that sort of question because it (his future) is out of my hands,” said the forlorn Dutch coach.

The 2004 and 2004 Spanish champions, who have also reached the Champions League final twice in the last decade, were in contention to qualify for next year’s Champions League when Koeman took over last November.

The Cup win ensures that Valencia will be in the UEFA Cup next season but they could be in the unwanted position of being only the second team from a lower tier of Spanish football to ever play in Europe.

Koeman caused uproar during the winter transfer window by discarding three Valencia icons – Spanish internationals Santiago Canizares, Miguel Angel Angulo and David Albelda – and telling them to find new clubs.

The move alienated many of Valencia’s fanatical supporters who have been chanting for him to resign or be sacked ever since, even during Wednesday’s Cup final when they beat Getafe 3-1.

The messy recent court battle in which former captain Albelda sued the club for constructive dismissal, and which saw some players appear as witnesses, also did nothing to help Koeman’s image despite the court finding in favour of the club.

Valencia have only been out of the top flight four times since La Liga’s inception in 1928 – the first three years and the 1986-87 season.

They have won the Spanish league six times and also four European titles, most recently the 2004 UEFA Cup.


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