Manolo Marquez leaves Las Palmas after less than three months in charge

Colin Millar by Colin Millar / 26 September 2017, 18:23

Precisely one year ago the focus in Spain was on Granada, who became the first team in La Liga to part company with their manager as Paco Jemez was dismissed after just six matches in charge. Fast forward 12 months and Manolo Marquez became the third La Liga coach of the season - and second in the space of 24 hours - to leave their club.

The 49-year-old described his decision to step down as akin to ‘a dignified suicide’ in his midday press conference as he explained there was more ‘honour’ in stepping down rather than waiting for results to deteriorate and being ‘thrown out on the street’. The choice of words was interesting and hints the decision was not his alone.

The Barcelona-native had been a surprise appointment this summer as he was handed his first job coaching a professional team having been promoted from managing Las Palmas Atletico - the club’s youth team whom he guided to a historic promotion to Spain’s Segunda B.

It was an announcement which came as a surprise, not so much for the short-term nature of his stay - he had been confirmed as replacing Quique Setien only in July - but that the results under his guidance had been respectable. A tricky run of fixtures brought a return of six points from six outings including clashes with Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao.

Indeed, a hard-fought home victory over the Basques earlier this month was a notable result, as was the 3-1 win at Malaga the previous week. However, Sunday’s loss at home to Leganes was a low point and the manner of the performance was disappointing.

The decision - whether this was solely Marquez’s or chairman Miguel Angel Ramirez played a part - may have been taken with an eye on the fixtures still to come. Their next three away matches are against Barcelona, Villarreal and Real Madrid. By the time their 13th league match comes around, they will have faced all seven sides who qualified for Europe last season along with a resurgent Valencia.

This season is Los Amarillos third straight campaign in the top flight after a 13-year absence - their longest run in the division since relegation in 1983. They are a club who in the past three decades have been associated more with Segunda football although not insignificant recent investment in the past twelve months have shot up expectation levels.

Spain international Vitolo arrived on loan following his acrimonious move from Atletico Madrid - who cannot register him until January - from Sevilla while Loic Remy and Jonathan Calleri provide a renewed attacking threat. Under Setien last season they prioritised attack over defence and secured a string of impressive results (including two high-scoring draws against Real Madrid) before falling away late on in the campaign.

The losses of defensive midfield ‘pivot’ Roque Mesa to Swansea City alongside the unexpected sudden departure of Kevin-Prince Boateng hurt although they managed to retain the services of key creative midfielder Jonathan Viera.

For now, the club are in a period of limbo with no successor lined up for Marquez, who will remain with the club at a grassroots level. Coaching duo of club legend Juan Carlos Valeron and Paquito Ortiz will lead them in the interim period, but fears of a relegation battle have not been eased at a club where uncertainty is strengthening its grip.

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