Garrido handed Villarreal reins
© AFP

Villarreal have confirmed reserve coach Juan Carlos Garrido will take charge of the first team until the end of the season.

Garrido, 40, replaces Ernesto Valverde, who was sacked last night following their home defeat by Osasuna. Speculation was rife that Michael Laudrup was set to take over the reins but today's announcement suggests Villarreal will leave it until the summer before making a more permanent appointment.

Garrido has been at the club for 12 years in various capacities and returned to his position as B team coach at the beginning of last season. Under him, Villarreal's reserves have become one of the teams of the season and are currently flying high in Spain's second tier.

Garrido took charge of his first training session this morning shortly after Valverde had made a brief appearance to say his goodbyes to his former players. Valverde said: "I've come to say goodbye to the team. It's a different and hard situation for me. The club decided that we wouldn't continue at the helm of Villarreal.

I came with a lot of excitement because it was the team I wanted to train and it is true that things, from the beginning, did not happen as we all hoped.
Ernesto Valverde

"I came with a lot of excitement because it was the team I wanted to train and it is true that things, from the beginning, did not happen as we all hoped. I have to thank the president who first thought of me and also for the confidence he put in us during the bad times."

The Yellow Submarine had only lost once in their previous seven league games - a run of results which included a draw at the Camp Nou against Spanish and European champions Barcelona - but Valverde paid the price for an inconsistent season which has also seen them crash out of the Copa del Rey to second division Celta Vigo.

He added: "It's certain that we haven't played very well in the past two or three games and that the elimination from the Copa did us a lot of damage and also yesterday the team were bad, and I can only say that the only person responsible is me. I am the visible head of the team, the club made a decision and I have to accept it. Thank you everyone."