Former Valencia manager Marcelino has suggested his tenure was brought to an end due to winning the Copa del Rey.
Marcelino, 54, was dismissed this week despite the season being three league games old and not long before Los Che face Chelsea in the Champions League.
Marcelino’s tenure at Valencia: Five key things to know…
- Marcelino was appointed Valencia manager in July 2017.
- He guided them to a fourth-place finish (73 points) in his first season (2017/18).
- It was the same ending the following campaign (2018/19) but with fewer points (61).
- Los Che, though, ended an 11-year trophy drought by lifting the Copa del Rey.
- Marcelino has suggested by winning that competition, his time at the club was up.
His sacking was met with disillusionment by supporters given he’s been their most successful coach this decade having won last season’s Copa del Rey, the first trophy won by Valencia since Ronald Koeman lifted that same piece of silverware in 2008.
He also returned Champions League football to the Mestalla, finishing back-to-back seasons in fourth, which followed two campaigns that saw them finish 12th. This made his removal bewildering, especially with them sitting just five points behind current leaders Atlético Madrid.
A proud man, the former Villarreal boss has gone some way to explaining the reasoning behind chairman Peter Lim’s executive decision, feeling their run to Copa del Rey glory played a significant part.
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“The Copa del Rey was a secondary competition and (they said it) put at risk our Champions League qualification, when in reality, knocking out Getafe (in the semi-finals) was key to us kicking on and finishing top four,” he told a news conference.
“We didn’t get congratulated by the owner (Peter Lim) after winning the cup. When I went to Singapore to see him on 19 July, he congratulated me for qualifying for the Champions League and not for the Copa del Rey victory. I’m sure you can understand my surprise.
“I’m absolutely certain that the smoking gun of this situation was the Copa. During the season, we got messages from above and other people that we should just leave the Copa.
“The fans wanted us to go for the cup, so did the players. They wanted to fight for the cup and had the conviction to win it. The coaching team, too. Winning it was definitely the detonator for this situation. Who’d have thought it.”
Marcelino: I was assured of Valencia job
Marcelino was thought to have a testing relationship with Lim and the Valencia hierarchy due to differences regarding the club’s summer transfer policy.
Reports claim that Marcelino wanted to sign Barcelona duo Denis Suarez and Rafinha, but Lim and one of his advisors – agent Jorge Mendes – disagreed. Ultimately, the pair ended up moving to Celta Vigo.
However, he was still left stunned with his dismissal, especially after he claims to have been assured of the club’s confidence in his work during that aforementioned meeting on July 19.
“I was incredulous when they notified me,” the 54-year-old added. “I felt helpless.
“I never saw myself out and it came as a surprise. When I met with the club owner on July 19 he told me face-to-face that he had absolute confidence in our work.
Míster, te deseo lo mejor. Estoy seguro de que te irá bien allá donde vayas y te dejen trabajar. Gracias por hacer al club más grande y a mí mejor futbolista. pic.twitter.com/8W2y2fGGzv
— Dani Parejo (@DaniParejo) September 11, 2019
“After those comments, how could I think that I would be sacked on Sept. 10? I’m sad but thankful for the messages of support that I’ve received. I take with me the affection and respect from the players and those that worked with me here. Now I will take some time off.”
Valencia’s squad are said to have reacted just as furiously as supporters at the sacking, too.
“Whoever took this decision didn’t just trample over you, but a whole team and fanbase. I will say loud and clear: THIS IS NOT FAIR,” defender Ezequiel Garay wrote on Instagram.
And midfielder Dani Parejo, whose improved form under Marcelino had seen him break into the Spanish national team, posted on Twitter: “Boss, I wish you the best, I’m sure that you’ll do well wherever you go. Thanks for making this club bigger and me a better player.”