Soccer-Osasuna hire Gracia to replace sacked Mendilibar

Reuters

MADRID, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Osasuna have hired Javier Gracia as coach to replace Jose Luis Mendilibar, who became the first coaching casualty of the season when he was sacked on Tuesday following a poor start to the La Liga campaign.

Gracia, who was born in Pamplona where Osasuna are based and has coached Spanish teams including Villarreal B, Pontevedra, Cadiz and Almeria, has signed a two-year contract, his new club said on their website (www.osasuna.es).

"I have found a dressing-room that is determined to do things well, with the values of honesty and identity above all else," the 43-year-old said at his presentation on Thursday.

"We need the players to recover physically and also give them a psychological lift," he added.

"We have to get the most out of them to create a more competitive team and we also have to look at why they have not scored goals and why they have let in so many."

Osasuna finished seventh in the 2011-12 season under Mendilibar but after a dramatic slump in form narrowly avoided relegation last term.

They lost 3-0 at home to Villarreal on Saturday and are bottom of the standings after three matches with no points having conceded seven goals and scored just one. (Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmond)

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