Pako Ayestaran
Pako Ayesteran’s spell at Las Palmas was short-lived.

Struggling Las Palmas have fired coach Pako Ayestaran following Wednesday’s 3-2 home defeat to Deportivo La Coruna in the Copa del Rey.

Ayestaran, who took charge on Sept. 27 with the club in 15th place, led the team to just one point from a possible 21 in La Liga.

Despite Las Palmas progressing 6-4 on aggregate to the next round of the Copa after the loss to Depor, the club decided to part ways with the coach.

A Las Palmas club statement said: “Following the meeting of Las Palmas’ administration council after Wednesday’s Copa del Rey game against Deportivo La Coruna, the club has decided to dismiss Pako Ayestaran as coach of the first team.

“The club wishes to thank the Basque coach for his work and dedication in charge of the team since his arrival at the end of September.

“Until the club announces the new coach, Paquito Ortiz and Rafa Cristobal will be in charge of the team.”

Ayestaran, a former coach of Valencia, inherited a difficult job when he replaced Manolo Marquez at the helm in September.

The club’s only win under him was a 4-1 triumph at Depor in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie.

They lost seven times in nine games in all competitions while he held the reins.

Las Palmas are 19th in the standings with seven points from 13 games heading into Sunday’s home game against Real Betis.

The Canary Islands-based club expect to appoint a new coach before the weekend.

Las Palmas president Miguel Angel Ramirez said in a news conference after Ayestaran’s dismissal: “We weren’t thinking of making a coaching change but after a two-hour meeting the decision was a unanimous one.

“Having arrived to this situation, we are hoping to get a new coach in the next 24 to 48 hours.

“I can only apologise to the fans because we are not achieving what we intended to do. We need a coach that will turn things around.”

Paco Jemez, who left Mexican side Cruz Azul after one season in charge earlier this month, is the main candidate to replace Ayestaran.

Jemez, who guided Las Palmas in the 2010-11 campaign, revealed he has been contacted by this former club but also has other offers on the table.

A reported target of La Liga side Alaves, Jemez told Onda Cero radio: “He [Ramirez] called me [last night] but I couldn’t answer because I was busy.

“This week I will answer all the offers that I have received. I have to evaluate whether I want to coach so soon after leaving Cruz Azul or rest.”

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.



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