Ronald Koeman leaves Valencia after less
than a season in charge [GALLO/GETTY]
 
Spanish Primera Liga club Valencia have fired coach Ronald Koeman, five days after the Dutchman led the club to its seventh Copa Del Rey trophy.

Former Valencia and Spain defender Salvador Gonzalez Marco will replace Koeman for the club's final five league games.

"I go with pride having won an important title like the Copa Del Rey and, I'd like to point out, as we say in my country, that in my time at Valencia I gained an important experience but also lost hope,'' Koeman said in a statement.

The club said it had come to an agreement with Koeman over his contract, which was due to run through 2010.

Valencia lost 5-1 at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday to leave it with 18 points from 22 league games under Koeman, who replaced the fired Quique Sanchez Flores in November.

Valencia is 16th in La Liga, two points above No. 18 Recreativo Huelva and relegation.

Koeman enjoyed better luck in the Spanish Cup competition where Valencia beat Getafe 3-1 in the final on Wednesday.

Juan Sanchez Romero was installed as the new technical secretary following a meeting while sporting director Miguel Angel Ruiz told Spanish media that he was to be released as the club "restructures'' its sporting management.

"When the club makes such a big change it's because they need to,'' Gonzalez Marco, who is also know "Voro'', told Marca's website. "There is nothing pretty about it, but things like this happen.''

Big expectations

Former president Juan Soler introduced Koeman on Nov. 2 with the expectations he would make Valencia "one of the best clubs in Europe.''

Instead, the two-time European Champions League runner-up dropped out of the Uefa Champions League after finishing last in its group.

The former FC Barcelona and Netherlands player immediately shook up the squad and banished captain David Albelda, goalkeeper Santiago Canizares and fellow Spain player Miguel Angel Angulo from the team.

The three regulars were told they had no future at Valencia, but continued to train with the club.

Albelda took the club to court in a failed bid to be released.

Valencia was four points behind Spanish leader Real Madrid when Sanchez Flores was dismissed.

It now trails Madrid by 33 with four wins since the change.

New challenge

Koeman quit PSV Eindhoven to sign a three-year deal with Valencia, which had said it compensated the Dutch club with an "undisclosed sum'' since he was under contract through the remainder of the season.

The 45-year-old Koeman enjoyed success in Spain as a defender during the 1990s with Barcelona, converting a free kick for the winning goal that earned the Catalan team its first European Cup title in 1992.

He was also a European champion four years earlier with PSV and helped the Netherlands win the 1988 European Championship.

Koeman's first coaching experience came as an assistant with Barcelona before his appointment by Vitesse Arnhem in 2000.

He then took charge of Ajax and won two Dutch league crowns during a four-year spell before moving on to Benfica.

His most recent success came last season when he guided PSV to its 20th league title.

Source: Agencies