Earlier this week, Spanish football was stunned at Valencia’s decision to sack their manager Marcelino and replace him with Albert Celades, handing the 43-year-old his first club managerial role after time in charge of Spain’s U16s, U17s and U21s over the past four years or so.
While the La Liga side had endured a rather difficult start to the season, currently sitting in 13th, it seemed ridiculous to get rid of a manager who had led the club to fourth in the league last year (qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League) and won the Copa del Rey by beating Barcelona 2-1 in the final.
Reports of internal strife at the club had already emerged over the summer, with two groups wresting for control behind the scenes, yet few would have predicted this scenario three games into the season, including Marcelino himself.
The sacked manager decided to give a press conference on Friday to give his side of the story, and it was astonishing to say the least.
Outside of praising the fans, thanking Mateu Alemany, the club’s general director, for his support during this time, and explaining he would be taking some time out in the near future, Marcelino also made a strong revelation.
He said, relayed by SuperDeporte: “I’m absolutely convinced the trigger of this situation was winning the Copa del Rey. Over the past season, we’d received messages telling us we needed to cast aside the cup. The fans and the players wanted cup. Everyone wanted to win the cup. Winning it was the trigger. Would would have imagined this?”
In fact, per tweets by Plaza Radio journalist Paco Polit, Marcelino revealed Peter Lim, the club’s owner, never praised him for his performance in the cup.
He said: “We didn’t get congratulated in Sevilla by [Lim]. When I went to Singapore on July 19th, he congratulated me for the Champions League and not for the Cup.
“No, they didn’t tell me why they didn’t want the Copa del Rey. Only that it was a minor tournament and we could put the objectives at risk (…) In July, the owner, to my face and with three other people present, told me he had absolute confidence in my work. How could I think I would be sacked on September 10th?”
We’ve seen a few shock dismissals in the past, but this has to be one of the more unexpected ones, and the fact Marcelino has been so open about it could make Celades’ role uncomfortable over the next few weeks.
If the new man doesn’t hit the ground running, and with reports the players were in utter shock at the decision to get rid of their former manager, things could get difficult rather quickly.