Calleja returns as Villarreal coach seven weeks after being sacked

Villarreal has re-hired Javi Calleja as its coach, despite the former defender only being sacked by the club in December.

Villarreal coach Javi Calleja.   -  Getty Images

Javi Calleja has returned as Villarreal coach less than two months after being sacked, the club has confirmed.

Calleja was shown the exit on December 10 with Villarreal 17th in LaLiga, and Luis Garcia Plaza was chosen to replace him.

But Garcia Plaza suffered the same fate as Calleja on Tuesday, having won just once in nine matches across all competitions since taking the reins.

Calleja, a former Villarreal player, led the club to a commendable fifth-place finish last season, before a poor start to the 2018-19 campaign cost him.

He returns with the Yellow Submarine even more embroiled in a relegation battle than when he left, as it sits 19th and five points adrift of safety.

The club did not confirm how long Calleja's contract is, however president Fernando Roig suggested he will be in place initially until the end of the season.

"Villarreal and I distinguish ourselves by doing the opposite of what many people expect and I assume all the responsibility of the decision," Roig told reporters at a news conference.

"It is my decision and I assume the decision until the end of the season."