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Struggling Sevilla fire Sampaoli, appoint Mendilibar

Europa Press Sports / Europa Press / Getty

MADRID (AP) — Jorge Sampaoli’s second stint as Sevilla coach is over.

Sevilla fired the Argentine coach on Tuesday, two days after a 2-0 loss at relegation-threatened Getafe in the Spanish league. Former Eibar and Alaves coach José Luis Mendilibar was hired as Sampaoli’s replacement.

“Following the defeat at Getafe, which leaves the side just above the relegation zone, the club has decided to part ways with the Argentine coach ahead of the international break,” Sevilla said in a statement. “The image shown by the team in these last matches has led the club to make this decision, in hopes that it can recover in the last 12 rounds of the Spanish league.”

Sampaoli coached Sevilla from 2016-17 before leaving to join Argentina’s national team ahead of the 2018 World Cup. He impressed during his initial stint with Sevilla to gain his chance with the national team, but Argentina mostly struggled under Sampaoli, who was fired after the team’s round-of-16 elimination against France in Russia.

Sampaoli said he departs with his head high, carrying the city and the Sevilla colors in his heart.

“When they asked me to return, it felt like a good opportunity to close out a first stint that somehow had been left unfinished,” Sampaoli said on Instagram. “Sevilla is the first team in which I returned for a second try, and I can assure that, despite the different circumstances, my love for this shield won’t be affected and will remain enormous.”

Sampaoli leaves with Sevilla in 14th place in the Spanish league, two points from the relegation zone. The traditional club from southern Spain has won one of its last five league games, with three losses and a draw. It has seven wins, seven draws and 12 losses in the competition.

Sevilla was eliminated by Osasuna in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey, and will face Manchester United in the last eight in the Europa League next month.

The 63-year-old Sampaoli was in charge of Sevilla for a total of 31 matches since taking over from Julen Lopetegui last year, with 13 wins, six draws and 12 losses.

Sevilla was last relegated to the second division in 2000, returning the following season and staying in the top flight since then.

Sampaoli previously also coached Chile’s national team and most recently French club Marseille and Brazilian teams Santos and Atletico Mineiro.

Mendilibar, who signed a contract until the end of the season, coached Alaves in 12 matches last season. He spent a large part of his coaching career with Eibar, first from 2004-05 and then from 2015-21. He also had long stints with Valladolid and Osasuna, as well as a brief spell with Athletic Bilbao.

Mendilibar was set to take charge of the team’s training session on Tuesday. Sevilla’s next match is at Cadiz on April 1, after the international break.


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