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Football | Spain

Mauricio Pellegrino © Reuters Images

Pellegrino judges sacking 'unfair'



Mauricio Pellegrino has described as "unfair" his sacking as manager of Valencia following Saturday's 5-2 defeat at home to Real Sociedad.

The 41-year-old Argentine coach, who took over on a two year contract in the close season, was shown the door despite having led the team into the Champions League last 16.

"It's an unfair decision, taken on the spur of the moment and motivated by fear of the situation, but that's football," Pellegrino, a former Valencia and Liverpool player, told a press conference on Sunday.

He added: "The image given by our last two matches (4-0 and 5-2 defeats to Malaga and Real Sociedad) is distorted. We're four-five points away from our objective in the league, we've qualified for the Champions League last 16 and we are still in business in the Spanish Cup."

Pellegrino, who worked as assistant coach under then manager Rafael Benitez at Liverpool between 2008 and 2010, added: "I wish Valencia all the best. I hope life will one day give me another chance to work here."

Team captain Roberto Soldado said he and his players shoulder responsibility for Valencia's predicament.

"We have to get ourselves involved more to change this situation and after the impression given yesterday we should present our apologies to the fans for the ridiculous show that we put on," he said.

Announcing the news after Saturday's heavy loss Valencia president Manuel Llorente said: "We have talked it over, debated it and have made the decision to dispense with the services of Mauricio Pellegrino."

It was the first home defeat for Valencia this season but the coach along with the board received whistles from a notoriously demanding crowd as the team slumped to 11th place in La Liga.

While Valencia look to appoint a replacement former defender Salvador Gonzales Marco has stepped in as caretaker coach - a post he has already held for a two month spell in 2008.

He oversaw a charged training session on Sunday attended by a group of 50 disgruntled fans who were eventually turned away by police.

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