Struggling Sevilla fire coach Sampaoli, appoint Mendilibar

Sevilla unveil Jorge Sampaoli as their new coach
Soccer Football - Sevilla unveil Jorge Sampaoli as their new coach - Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain - October 7, 2022 Sevilla's new coach Jorge Sampaoli during the press conference REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

March 21 (Reuters) - Relegation-threatened Sevilla fired coach Jorge Sampaoli on Tuesday and appointed Jose Luis Mendilibar as his replacement until the end of the season, with the LaLiga side just two points above the drop zone.

Sevilla have lost four of their last seven league matches, including a 6-1 humbling by Atletico Madrid.

Although they are through to the Europa League quarter-finals, they sit 14th in LaLiga on 28 points with 12 games left following Sunday's 2-0 loss at Getafe.

"Following defeat at Getafe, which leaves the side just above the relegation zone, the club have decided to part ways with the Argentine coach ahead of the international break," Sevilla said in a statement.

Argentine Sampaoli, 63, also coached Sevilla in the 2016-2017 season before taking up the Argentina national team job.

Mendilibar has been coaching for nearly 30 years with his longest stint being a second spell at Eibar from 2015 to 2021.

The 62-year-old kept Eibar up for six straight seasons before they were eventually relegated in 2021.

"The Basque coach has signed a contract until the end of the season, 30th June, and will take charge of his first training session this evening," Sevilla said.

"In his 448 top-flight matches, he has a record of 128 wins, 125 draws and 195 defeats."

Sevilla are record six-times Europa League winners and next face Manchester United. Their first LaLiga game after the international break is at 15th-placed Cadiz on April 1.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond and Hugh Lawson

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