Nice guys turn nasty with sudden sackings

Two clubs normally defined by their square-jawed, steadfast ways have reacted to poor results in the last round of matches to pull the lever marked “Gaaah!” by firing their coaches.

The sudden departures of Ernesto Valverde and José Luis Mendilibar from Villarreal and Valladolid respectively signals the sad end of la Primera’s ‘Scottish trio’ made up of the two ex-coaches and former Xerez boss Cuco Ziganda.

All could be defined by their David Moyes-esque scowling, dour demeanours, potential handiness in tasty bar scraps, and would certainly have been haggis-hagglers had they had been cursed with the misfortune of being born in the British Isles.

Valverde, Mendilibar and Ziganda: dour

The Sunday night firing of Valverde from El Madrigal broke the laws of reason by being simultaneously surprising and not unexpected.

Manuel Pellegrini’s successor at the east coast club had only survived the start of the season by the hairs on his chinny-chinny-chin after his team picked up just one win in their first eight league games.

NEWS, Sun Jan 31: Villarreal sack Valverde

But a less expansive, more ‘pragmatic’ style of football than that of his predecessor never sat well with Villarreal’s players, who are to change what Maniche is to Spandex.

It may have been more than acceptable to Villarreal ruler Fernando Roig had this culture clash being rewarded with decent results, but a team more than capable of a top-three finish is now squatting in ninth, 10 points from the Champions League places.

Two other influential factors were the side’s early exit from the Copa del Rey, which left the club with the emptiest of trophy cabinets for another year, and a defence that's all over the shop having conceded eight goals against Valencia, Zaragoza and Osasuna in the last three matches. 

“Villarreal can’t play this kind of football,” explained Roig after leading Valverde to his car.

“Things have not gone how we hoped, from the start.”

Roig (right): "Alright already, I'll sack him"

The unfortunate Ernesto has been replaced by Juan Carlos Garrido, who has led Villarreal's B team to an impressive seventh in the second division and promises to return the senior squad to their previous fancy-pants football ways.

The morning after Villarreal’s managerial manoeuvrings, the season's seventh top-tier coaching casualty was announced with Valladolid parting company with José Luis Mendilibar, a gentleman best known for his profound love of shouting, pointing, bickering with referees and an offside trap set up on the halfway line.

NEWS, Mon Feb 1: Valladolid sack Mendilibar

The coach at the coldest place on earth for three-and-half-seasons was lucky to survive this long at Valladolid, having only just avoided relegation on the final day of the last campaign and leading his team to a somewhat disappointing three wins in 31 league matches.

Valladolid president Carlos Suárez is by the far the coolest of his ilk in la Primera.

Just 41, he's a former professional basketball player who actually understands sport, a chain-smoker who seems to loathe sitting in the ‘palco’ next to the likes of Joan Laporta.

And he's the spitting image of Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme.

A Homme and a hombre

After announcing Mendilibar’s departure, Suárez declared that he was sure that “it was the right decision” and went for the cheap-as-chips Villarreal approach by promoting B team coach Onésimo Sánchez.

However, La Liga Loca suspects that the unemployed pair of Valverde and Mendilibar will not be the last to go in la Liga this season.

Atlético Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has already got tongues a-waggin' by declaring that Quique Sánchez Flores’ job at the Vicente Calderón “is quite safe” - something he did with Javier Aguirre and Abel Resino, with disastrous consequences for both.

AS claim that a Copa del Rey knockout against Racing and a league defeat against, er, Racing on Sunday will see Quique out – with La Liga Loca praying for the return of the real Dream Team: Atleti and Luis Aragonés. More to read...

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