Struggling Espanyol sack Mane

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The Independent Online

Espanyol have axed coach Jose Manuel Esnal after less than two months in charge of the Primera Liga strugglers.

The 58-year-old, known as Mane, took over from Bartolome Marquez at the beginning of December last year, but has been unable to mastermind a move away from the relegation zone.



The Barcelona-based club drew three and lost three of Mane's games in charge, leading to a swift change in direction by the club's board.



Former Espanyol defender Mauricio Pochettino is expected to be named as Mane's successor, with the club currently down in 18th place in the table.



Valencia striker David Villa believes Barcelona will prove an unstoppable force in both domestic and European competition this season.



The Catalan side maintained their 12-point lead at the top of the La Liga table with a 5-0 demolition of a previous in-form Deportivo La Coruna outfit last weekend and the manner of the performance left Villa struggling for superlatives.



“They are not only the best in Spain, but the best on the continent,” he told AS.



“The team has impressed me a lot, not just because of the results but the way they have obtained them.



“Their play is worthy of praise and I am full of admiration.



“It seems difficult that from here they will lose four of five games and that the rest of us can win them all.”



Meanwhile, goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri has accused Getafe of scuppering his proposed move back to Boca Juniors.



The 36-year-old Argentinian withdrew from the squad that lost 1-0 at Racing Santander last weekend, after accusing president Angel Torres of upping his asking price at the last minute.



Abbondanzieri relented and ultimately took up a place on the bench, but the former Argentina international is unhappy with the actions of Getafe.



“Things are going very badly for me. My choice is to finish my career with Boca, that is decided,” he explained.



“It is simple. I received an offer to play for two years at the club where I had my best years and I decided to accept it.



“The problem is that the president of Getafe changed his mind when the agreement had already been reached.”

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