Espanyol sack Abelardo as Rufete takes charge of LaLiga strugglers


Relegation-threatened Espanyol have sacked Abelardo Fernandez and placed Francisco Rufete in charge of the team for the rest of the LaLiga season.

Following back-to-back defeats to Levante and Real Betis, bottom club Espanyol have decided to make a change in a desperate bid to preserve their top-flight status.

Sporting director Rufete is tasked with trying to produce a miraculous escape in the closing stages of a difficult campaign; they sit eight points from safety with just seven games remaining.

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His first outing in the role is a home fixture against title-chasing Real Madrid on Sunday.

Abelardo was only appointed in late December following the departure of Pablo Machin. His tenure started with a 2-2 draw against Barcelona, however just three wins in 12 league outings since has resulted in him losing his job.

"Espanyol report that Abelardo Fernandez has been removed from his responsibilities as coach of the men's first team," a statement from the team read.

"The club has taken this decision as a result of the sporting performance of the first team and with the clear will of achieving salvation in LaLiga.

"The rest of the coaching staff, Tomas Hervas and Inaki Tejada, have also been removed from their posts."

Espanyol finished seventh in Spain last season to qualify for the Europa League, a competition they exited this term at the last-32 stage after losing 6-3 on aggregate to Wolves.


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