Soccer - Vissel Kobe confirm Spain's Lotina as Miura replacement

FILE PHOTO: Football - Cardiff City v Deportivo La Coruna Pre Season Friendly - Cardiff City Stadium - 10/11 - 31/7/10 Deportivo La Coruna's coach Miguel Angel Lotina before the match Mandatory Credit: Action Images / James Benwell Livepic

(Reuters) - Japan’s Vissel Kobe have appointed Spain’s Miguel Angel Lotina as the club’s new head coach as they look to bounce back from a poor start to the season.

The 64-year-old former Espanyol and Villarreal coach replaces Atsuhiro Miura, who was fired last month after failing to record a single win since the start of the J-League in February.

Kobe, currently home to World Cup winner Andres Iniesta, finished third last season but are currently in 17th place in the 18-team top flight of Japanese football.

Lotina previously coached J-League side Shimizu S-Pulse, but was removed from the role before the end of last season.

Kobe will be one of four Japanese representatives in this year’s Asian Champions League when matches involving teams from the east of the continent begin their campaign on April 15.

The club have been drawn to face Chinese Super League side Shanghai Port, Chiangrai United from Thailand and Hong Kong’s Kitchee.

Reporting by Michael Church, editing by Richard Pullin