Villarreal sack Valverde

MADRID - Villarreal have sacked coach Ernesto Valverde and will announce a replacement in the next few days, the La Liga club said on their website on Sunday.

The team's form had improved in recent months after a poor start to the season, but the 2-0 home defeat by Osasuna on Sunday left them in 10th place in the standings with just seven wins from 20 matches.

Valverde, who led Olympiakos Piraeus to a league and cup double last season, took over from Manuel Pellegrini at Villarreal after the Chilean moved to Real Madrid, agreeing a one-year contract with an option for one more term.

He had previous spells in charge of Athletic Bilbao and Espanyol, guiding the latter to the UEFA Cup final in 2007.