Valencia fires coach Marcelino three games into season


Valencia's head coach Marcelino Garcia Toral. (Jose Miguel Fernandez de Velasco/AP)

VALENCIA, Spain — Valencia has fired coach Marcelino Garcia Toral three games into the Spanish league season, hiring former Real Madrid and Barcelona player Albert Celades as his replacement.

The decision was announced Wednesday after team president Anil Murthy returned to Spain after meeting Singaporean owner Peter Lim.

"Valencia has to stick to its philosophy of promoting its academy players and giving them the opportunity to compete at the highest levels. These young players represent our values," Murthy said. "They are one of the pillars of a club that must balance ambitious goals with a longterm sustainable model that is our identity."

Marcelino’s firing came amid reports he had been at odds with team owners over planning for the season.

Murthy said Celades has the "experience working with young players" and "shares Valencia’s philosophy."

"It is a demanding challenge because Valencia must remain ambitious and win every game, but it is also demanding in the long term because it’s our academy players, and a sustainable model, that will allow us to keep contending in the elite," Murthy said.

Celades coached Spain’s Under-21 squad until last year and was an assistant to Julen Lopetegui when the former Spain coach was at Real Madrid.

The 43-year-old former midfielder played with Spain’s national team. He finished his career with the New York Red Bulls in 2009.

Valencia plays at Barcelona on Saturday, and at Chelsea on Tuesday in the Champions League group stage.

Marcelino helped Valencia to finish fourth in last season’s Spanish league.

Valencia is currently 10th in the 20-team league after opening with a home draw against Real Sociedad, a loss at Celta Vigo and a home win against promoted Mallorca.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.