Struggling Villarreal sack Garcia, bring back Calleja


  • Football
  • Tuesday, 29 Jan 2019

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Villarreal v Real Madrid - Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal, Spain - January 3, 2019 Villarreal coach Luis Garcia looks on REUTERS/Heino Kalis

MADRID (Reuters) - Struggling La Liga side Villarreal have sacked coach Luis Garcia Plaza and brought back former manager Javi Calleja, the club said on Tuesday.

Calleja was fired on Dec. 10 when the club was sitting just three points above the relegation zone.

However, his replacement Garcia managed to secure only one win in his nine games in charge – a 2-0 Europa League victory over Spartak Moscow.

Following Garcia's appointment, they were eliminated from the Copa del Rey by Espanyol and failed to win any of their six La Liga games. The 2006 Champions League semi-finalists have slipped to 19th, five points from the safety zone.

The club have won just three of their 21 league games this season and with just 17 games remaining, Calleja faces an uphill struggle to keep Villarreal in the top division. They also face a tricky tie against Sporting in the Europa League last 32 next month.

The move to reinstate Calleja, who first took charge in September 2017, comes after French side Monaco made a similar decision with former coach Leonardo Jardim last week.

(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; editing by Ken Ferris and Pritha Sarkar)

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