After announcing that Gaizka Garitano will not stay in his post, Athletic Bilbao on Sunday became the second club in La Liga to sack their coach this season.
The timing of the announcement was shocking as it came less than two hours after Garitano’s side defeated Elche 1-0 with 21 points from 17 games to climb into ninth position in the table.
The club announced the sacking of Garitano and thanked him for his work in charge of the first team after replacing the club in the relegation zone with Eduardo Berizzo at the beginning of December 2018.
In his first season in charge, the coach, who had previously led Athletic’s B team, brought them to the brink of a place in the Europa League, and Athletic also went close to qualifying for Europe in the 2019-20 season, only to run out of gas in the campaign’s final matches.
Last season also saw Athletic qualify against Real Sociedad for the final of the Copa del Rey, which was delayed due to COVID-19 and is scheduled to be played in April.
However, for his defensive attitude and lack of tactical versatility, Garitano had long been questioned, and after Sunday’s victory, he eventually paid the price for a series of poor results, culminating in the 1-0 league loss to Real Sociedad on December 31, when Athletic failed to manage a shot on goal for the third time this season in 90 minutes.
Former Valencia, Sevilla and Villarreal coach Marcelino Garcia Toral is the frontrunner to be appointed a replacement for Garitano ahead of FC Barcelona’s home league match on Wednesday.