New Real Zaragoza coach Javier Aguirre wants his side to treat every game as it if was a final as they look to escape from the foot of the Primera Division standings. Aguirre was presented by Zaragoza today as the replacement for Jose Aurelio Gay, who was sacked this morning following a poor start to the season.
Gay was given the boot with the club rooted to the bottom of the table after picking up just one win and seven points from their opening 11 league games. Zaragoza were also knocked out of the Copa del Rey after losing on away goals to Segunda Division side Real Betis in the last 32.
Former Mexico coach Aguirre, who is taking charge of his third Spanish club having previously managed Osasuna and Atletico Madrid, admits Zaragoza are going through a tough period but is confident of better times ahead.
"I've spent seven seasons in Spain and Real Zaragoza are one of the big sides. It's an important step in my career. I'm very excited because it's a huge project," he said. "They've had some difficult times recently and it's a challenge, but with the help of everyone we can save ourselves. As well as that, there is a long way to go in the season and there's time to recover.
"This squad has the quality to play football. That's the idea, that the team enjoys themselves, keeps possession and is competitive. With this squad it's possible to save ourselves. I want to give encouragement to the fans and the players, although I don't have a magic wand. We must all work hard and we all have to get involved. As well as that, La Romareda has to be a fortress. I need the help of the fans."
We must all work hard and we all have to get involved. As well as that, La Romareda has to be a fortress.
Javier Aguirre, Real Zaragoza coach
Aguirre's first game in charge will be Monday's visit to Getafe, who have not won in their last six competitive matches, losing four.
"Getafe are going through a delicate moment, like us, and for us it's the first final of the 27 that remain," the 51-year-old Aguirre added. "We are going to play every game as if it was the last because that's what we need. We need to take it step by step and not look further than the next match."
Aguirre was coach of Mexico before spending four seasons in charge of Osasuna from 2002-06, during which time he led the small Pamplona-based club to a fourth-placed finish in his final year and a spot in the UEFA Champions League. He also guided Osasuna to their first Copa del Rey final in 2005, which they lost to Real Betis 2-1 after extra time.
Aguirre then took charge of Atletico for two and a half years, leading the club to seventh in his first campaign and fourth in his second, earning the club a place in the Champions League for the first time in over a decade, before parting company with Los Rojiblancos in February 2009.
Aguirre then returned to his former position as coach of Mexico, whom he led into the last 16 at this summer's FIFA World Cup™ before suffering a 3-1 defeat to Argentina.