Santiago Canizares: Facing retirement after being hit with Koeman's axe [GALLO/GETTY]

Ronald Koeman justified his decision to drop three of Valencia's most experienced players as necessary to change the attitude within the squad.

The Dutchman has told goalkeeper Santiago Canizares, midfielder David Albelda and winger Miguel Angel Angulo that they are to be excluded from the side for the rest of the season after a run of poor results.

"I believe the team had to change, to have people with more enthusiasm and a greater hunger, and it starts with these decisions," Koeman told sports daily Marca on Friday.

"I have seen things that I haven't liked from the start and I have changed them. No one has told me to do this. It is a sporting matter."

The former Netherlands international replaced Quique Sanchez Flores as coach at the beginning of November and has seen the side finish bottom of their Uefa Champions League group and slip from fourth to seventh in the Primera Liga.

Following the decision, goalkeeper Canizares is likely to retire.

"The other day I said that I was 99 percent sure that I wanted to retire at Valencia and it's most probable that my last jersey worn will be Valencia's since that's what the club has decided,'' Canizares said.

The former Real Madrid and Celta Vigo goalkeeper, who is in his 10th season with Valencia, last played in the team's 0-0 Uefa Champions League draw at Chelsea on December 11.

Source: Agencies