Mauricio Pellegrino steps down as Alaves coach

MADRID, SPAIN - AUGUST 21: Head coach  Mauricio Pellegrino of Deportivo Alaves gives instructions during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid
Image: Mauricio Pellegrino has stepped down as Alaves coach

Mauricio Pellegrino has stepped down as coach of Copa del Rey runners-up Alaves.

The former Argentina defender took charge of newly-promoted Alaves on a one-year deal last summer, replacing Jose Bordalas who had led the club to the Segunda Division title.

Pellegrino ensured Alaves had a memorable first season back in the top flight, leading them to a ninth-placed finish in La Liga, beating the likes of Barcelona, Valencia and Villarreal along the way, as well as to the cup final, where they lost 3-1 to Barca on Saturday.

The 45-year-old said as he confirmed his departure at a press conference on Monday that his aim for this season was to exorcise the ghost of his single campaign at Alaves as a player in 2005/06, which ended in relegation from the top flight.

That season was Pellegrino's final one as a player before retiring. It led to a 10-year absence from La Liga for Alaves, which included a four-year stint in the third tier of Spanish football.

Pellegrino said on Monday: "I want to announce that I'm not going to be here next season. We've been talking about it for some time, but we decided it was best to wait to say it until after the final.

"I've been very happy as coach here. When I came I wanted to get off my chest my time here as a player, and hopefully we've done that.

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"I want to thank everybody at the club for their help, and especially the players who have helped put Alaves where they deserve to be. It's a team that I'm sure is going to continue achieving their objectives."

Pellegrino also played for Velez Sarsfield, Barcelona, Valencia and Liverpool, while his coaching career has included stints in charge of Valencia, Estudiantes and Independiente, as well as being Rafael Benitez's assistant at Liverpool and Inter Milan.

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