Valencia coach Cesare Prandelli resigns after 3 months

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VALENCIA, Spain (AP) — Valencia manager Cesare Prandelli stepped down on Friday, just three months after taking charge of the struggling Spanish team.

Valencia said that the former Italy national coach had presented "his irrevocable resignation as the first team manager."

The 59-year-old Prandelli leaves the team in 17th place, one spot above the Spanish league's relegation zone. It has a game in hand, albeit against league leader Real Madrid.

Shortly after announcing Prandelli's departure, Valencia issued a separate statement saying that the Italian had "presented his resignation in a surprising manner and at a delicate moment given the team's difficult situation."

The club said his "decision is even more unexpected at this time, when the winter transfer market is about to open (in January) and the club is working on options to reinforce the team."

Prandelli debuted with a 2-1 victory at Sporting Gijon after taking over from the fired Pako Ayerstaran, but Valencia went winless in seven league matches. However, it did beat Leganes in the round-of-32 of the Copa del Rey.

Team official Salvador "Voro" Gonzalez will once again take over as interim coach. With Voro as caretaker coach after Ayestaran's exit in September, the team won two matches and lost one.

Valencia is the last team other than Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to win the league title — in 2004.

But it has struggled to find a coach ever since the end of Unai Emery's four-year stint in 2012. Valencia has had eight different head coaches since then, a list that includes Ernesto Valverde, Nuno Espirito Santo and Gary Neville.

The team's poor season led to club president Layhoon Chan, who runs the top-tier side for Singaporean owner Peter Lim, to apologize to the club's fans last weekend.

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