Pepe Mel’s reign at Deportivo La Coruna ended last week after their 2-1 home loss to Girona proved to be the final straw for the Galician strugglers.
Club president Tino Fernandez reportedly broke the news to Mel via a phone call Tuesday (the morning after the Girona loss), before the club released a statement confirming the news.
Mel becomes the fourth La Liga Coach of the season to lose his job following the dismissals of Luis Zubeldia at Alaves and Fran Escriba at Villarreal, while Manolo Marquez resigned at Las Palmas.
The dismissal is Mel’s third in the space of four seasons (not including the short-term contract that ended by mutual consent at West Brom) and comes as no shock considering his record at Depor- 6 wins in his 24-match spell with only 2 coming in the 10 fixtures in this campaign (a run which included 5 defeats).
The fact that his spell across these last three clubs lasted only 95 matches combined only makes for more telling reading.
Of those 95 matches since the start of 2014, he has guided his teams to only 30 wins and 16 of those were in the 2014/15 season when he earned promotion from the Segunda Division in his second spell with his hometown club, Real Betis.
Mel began his post at Depor on the 28th February and inherited a squad significantly low on confidence and quality- sitting on the brink of the bottom three with only 4 wins from 23 games; having lost the previous 4 consecutive fixtures.
Their lowly position was not entirely unforeseen in Spain as the club had failed to replace attacking talents who had moved on from A Coruna- Lucas Perez was sold in the summer of 2015 and Ryan Babel’s contract had expired on the 31st December.
The impact felt on the pitch from Mel’s arrival was immediate, rousing Depor to a four-game unbeaten run which included a shock 2-1 home win over title-chasing Barcelona and a crucial win at relegation rivals Sporting Gijon.
Safety was duly secured, but the early “honeymoon period” momentum soon faded as Depor only won twice from their final eleven games in 2016/17.
Mel’s short-term contract was extended in the summer along with a selection of pragmatic signings including the loan signatures of promising young midfielder Fede Valverde from Real Madrid and the return of Lucas Perez from Arsenal to compliment the permanent signings of Costel Pantilimon and Swiss defender Fabian Schar.
However, Depor’s form has continued to worry, earning only 2 wins from the 10 league games this campaign in a run that has included six of these games being played against fellow sides in the lower reaches of La Liga. With a far tougher set of fixtures on the horizon, the Depor hierarchy have decided now is the time to act, confirming that Mel’s position will be taken by B-team boss Cristobal Parallo until the end of the season.