José Manuel Esnal has been entrusted with the task of lifting the fortunes of RCD Espanyol, one point and place above the Liga relegation zone, after being confirmed as Bartolomé Márquez's replacement as coach until the end of the season.
The 58-year-old previously enjoyed success by taking teams like UE Lleida, Levante UD and Deportivo Alavés into the Spanish top flight, while even leading the latter to the 2001 UEFA Cup final where they lost 5-4 to Liverpool FC. He last managed Athletic Club Bilbao in the 2006/07 season. The coach, commonly known as Mané, takes over an Espanyol side that have lost their last four Liga matches and his first game in charge, following his official unveiling on Wednesday, will be at Real Betis Balompié on Sunday.
Márquez was relieved of his duties in the wake of Sunday's 1-0 loss at home to Sporting Gijón. The 46-year-old had been appointed by the Barcelona outfit in June as a replacement for Olympiacos CFP-bound Ernesto Valverde, but he failed to make his mark. "He understood right away about the severity of the situation that we've slipped into," said Espanyol sporting director Francisco Herrera in a statement. Márquez had been on the coaching staff since 1999.
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