Struggling Villarreal sack coach Calleja, appoint Garcia Plaza

Javier Calleja has been replaced as coach by Luis Garcia Plaza at struggling Villarreal after winning just three matches this season, the Spanish La Liga club announced on Monday.

The 'Yellow Submarine' lost 3-2 at home to Celta Vigo at the weekend and now sit one place and three points above the relegation zone.

However, they are top of their Europa League group and will qualify for the next stage if they draw at home against Spartak Moscow on Thursday.

"Villarreal CF has decided to relieve Javi Calleja of his duties as first-team manager," said a statement on the official website.

"The club wants to thank the coach for his hard work, dedication and professionalism on the Yellows bench after taking charge early on last season, and wish him the best of luck in his sporting career."

Stepping into Calleja's shoes until the end of the season will be 46-year-old Garcia Plaza who returns to the club for a second spell, having spent the 2005-06 season in charge of Villarreal B.

"(Luis Garcia Plaza) joins the Yellows alongside his coaching staff Pedro Rostoll (assistant manager), Eduardo Dominguez (fitness coach) and Raul Gallego (analyst)," the club announced.

"The manager has carried out a great job at a number of clubs, such as Levante UD and Getafe CF, as well as his most recent club, Beijing Renhe in China."

The 40-year-old Calleja was youth coach at Villarreal when he stepped up to take over as first team boss from Fran Escriba who was fired in September 2017.

He had earlier spent seven years as a player with the Yellows, reaching the 2005-06 Champions League semi-finals.

Calleja is the fifth coach in La Liga to be sacked this season, following the dismissals of Eduardo Berizzo (Athletic Bilbao), Leo Franco (Huesca), Julen Lopetegui (Real Madrid) and Antonio Mohamed (Celta Vigo).

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