La Liga’s Managerial Merry-Go-Round – All the Changes

Espanyol vs Celta Vigo Match Preview & Prediction

The month following the end of the Spanish football season always throws up some coaching switches, many of which are expected but there is usually the odd curve-ball which has a knock-on effect on the rest of the market.

This year has been no exception with Rubi departing Espanyol just weeks after guiding them into Europe to take over at Betis. The other coaching departures were more expected and all four clubs with vacancies have now appointed new bosses. Barring any more surprises, we now know the identity of 19 of the 20 coaches who will start the 2019/20 season in La Liga with the final place still up for grabs with Segunda Division play-off action this week.

Here are the four coaching changes so far this summer:

Garitano replaces Abelardo at Alavés

OUT – Abelardo (Failed to agree a new deal)
IN – Asier Garitano

Of the four clubs to have made changes, the one you have to worry most for is Alavés. They spent 24 weeks in the top six in the season just gone with Abelardo doing an exceptional job with relatively limited resources. However the season ended on a sour note with Abelardo refusing to accept the club’s offer of a new deal. The Basque outfit were unwilling to meet his pay demands and his departure was ultimately announced in somewhat messy fashion with a few weeks of the season remaining.

Asier Garitano has a tough job on his hands as he aims to fill the boots left by Abelardo. In theory he is a solid appointment having worked wonders on a small budget at Leganes but he struggled at Real Sociedad and may have to deal with unrealistically high expectations in Vitoria with Alavés having punched above their weight over the past eighteen months. Abelardo is sure to be in the frame for any vacancy that comes up next term.

Fan Power ends Setién’s Betis Reign

OUT – Quique Setién (Mutual Consent)
IN – Rubi

One man who knows a thing or two about dealing with lofty expectations is Quique Setién. He set the bar high in his first season with Betis but struggled to live up to that standard this term with the Seville club fading badly in the second half of the campaign. The fans turned on the coach, although not entirely because of results on the pitch with Setién’s style of football and personality never quite winning the Betis fans over even during the better times.

Betis have responded by luring Espanyol boss Rubi to the club. It’s the second summer running in which he has moved on following a successful season and his CV is an increasingly impressive one. Rubi’s style of football is only a mild variation on the Setién approach and that may be a smart move on behalf of the Betis board who will be hoping to push for European football again in 2019/20.

Read more – Who is coming up from the Segunda Division?

Gallego step up at Espanyol

OUT – Rubi (Left for Betis)
IN – David Gallego

Rubi’s decision to leave Espanyol did raise a few eyebrows. His new employers finished three places below his old ones and Rubi has passed up on the chance to head up a Europa League campaign in favour of greater resources and in the long-term perhaps great prospects at Betis.

Espanyol did only sneak into the Europa League on the final day but are now faced with an early start in the qualifying rounds and should they make good progress in Europe, they may struggle to cope with all the football. The man with the juggling act to manage is David Gallego. The 47 year old has been at the club for six years already, coaching at youth and B team level. He also briefly coached the first team after the sacking of Quique Sánchez Flores in 2018 and now has finally been trusted with a two year permanent deal.

Sevilla Job offers Lopetegui a shot at Redemption

OUT – Joaquín Caparrós (End of Caretaker Spell)
IN – Julen Lopetegui

Both Seville clubs will start the new season with new coaches. Despite a promising start, Sevilla ultimately faded under the caretaker stewardship of Joaquín Caparrós as they missed out on Champions League qualification. That effectively ruled out the possibility that Caparrós might take over on a permanent basis and Sevilla again head into a new campaign under new guidance.

The man hoping to last longer than Eduardo Berizzo or Pablo Machin managed is Julen Lopetegui, fresh from a nightmare 2018 which saw him dismissed by Spain on the eve of the World Cup and subsequently sacked by Real Madrid after just 14 games. Neither of those sides exactly improved after his dismissals though and Lopetegui will be out to prove a point this coming year at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

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Article via Mark Sochon – Contact: marksochon(at) | @marksoc1 on Twitter

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About Mark Sochon 2070 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has been writing about Spanish football since 2014 and regularly attends and covers matches across Spain. His work has also been published by various newspapers and websites including These Football Times, World Soccer and Guardian Sport. Available for freelance work: marksochon (at)

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