Villarreal CF have moved quickly to fill the opening left by coach Manuel Pellegrini's departure to Real Madrid CF by installing 45-year-old Ernesto Valverde, fresh from leading Olympiacos CFP to the Greek domestic double.
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Villarreal CF have moved quickly to fill the void left by coach Manuel Pellegrini's departure to Real Madrid CF by installing Ernesto Valverde in the Chilean's stead.
Valverde, 45, has agreed a 12-month contract at El Madrigal with the option of a one-year extension. The former FC Barcelona and Athletic Club Bilbao forward led Greek side Olympiacos CFP to a domestic league and cup double in 2008/09, his first season outside Spain, before leaving last month. He had previously overseen RCD Espanyol's run to the 2006/07 UEFA Cup final and prior to that coached Athletic.
"I have absolutely no doubt that I'm very fortunate to have been offered this position and my aim is take Villarreal a little higher than they have been," said the coach. "I've come to replace a coach who has achieved great successes with this club and I hope that the team continues to be a reference point not just in Spain but also in Europe. The most difficult thing to do is to find a particular way for a team to play but Villarreal already have a style so what I'll try to do is to improve certain things. I like teams that always transmit a winning mentality. My teams have always fought to the end and that is what I would like to relay to the fans."
Valverde succeeds a coach who, in five seasons at the Villarreal helm, took the previously unfashionable club to second place in the Liga and the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Next season they will begin the new UEFA Europa League in the play-off round after a fifth-placed finish in the league.