'Not emotionally strong enough'
Garitano resigned on Tuesday, admitting he did not "feel emotionally strong enough" for the post only eight days after accepting the job. His departure opens the door for former RC Deportivo La Coruña coach Irureta, who has signed a contract until the end of the season. Irureta has been out of a job since stepping down at Real Betis Balompié in December 2006.
The 59-year-old was in charge of Deportivo for seven seasons between 1998 and 2005, leading them to their only league title in 2000 and the Copa del Rey in 2002. He also took Deportivo into the UEFA Champions League for five consecutive seasons. Irureta is among the most experienced coaches in Spain and counts Real Oviedo, Racing, Athletic Club Bilbao, Real Sociedad de Fútbol and RC Celta de Vigo among the clubs he has led.
Commenting on Garitano's abrupt departure since replacing Víctor Fernández on 14 January, club president Eduardo Banres played down talk of a rift between the coach and the club's board. "I've been saddened by some of the articles that have been written because they are unfair and false," he said. "We thought Garitano was the best man for the job and we told him we thought he was making a mistake. No one could have imagined this would happen. I told him not to get weighed down by the responsibility."
Zaragoza were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Racing Club Santander in Garitano's first game in charge but won in the league for the first time in ten games when they defeated Real Murcia CF 3-1 on Sunday. They are eleventh in the Primera División, three points above the relegation zone, and next play Racing on Sunday.
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