Espanyol sacks coach for third time this season

Espanyol has sacked Abelardo Fernandez, its third coach of the season, as the club battles to avoid relegation from the La Liga.

Abelardo Fernandez

Abelardo Fernandez managed to lead Espanyol to only three victories in the 13 matches that he was in charge.   -  Getty Images

Struggling Espanyol said on Saturday it has sacked coach Abelardo Fernandez, the third manager it has dispensed with this season, as the club fights to extend its 26-year stay in La the Liga.

Fernandez was appointed in December after David Gallego and Pablo Machin were each dismissed, but despite a positive start since play resumed following a three-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic, Thursday's 1-0 defeat at Real Betis proved the last straw.

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“Espanyol announce that Abelardo Fernandez has been relieved of his duties as first team coach,” the club said in a statement.

“This decision has been taken due to the team's recent performances and with the clear aim of keeping the club in the top flight.”

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The club added in a later statement that sporting director Francisco Rufete would take charge of the team for the remainder of the season. His first game is a daunting home fixture on Sunday against La Liga leader Real Madrid.

In 13 matches in charge, Fernandez earned three victories and five draws as well as five defeats. He leaves Espanyol bottom of the table on 24 points, eight from escaping the relegation zone with seven matches remaining.

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