Athletic Bilbao set to appoint Marcelino as coach after sacking Garitano

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La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Athletic Bilbao

(Reuters) - Athletic Bilbao have reached an agreement to appoint experienced coach Marcelino to succeed Gaizka Garitano, the Spanish side said on Sunday.

A statement from Athletic said Marcelino, whose last job was with Valencia, had agreed to a contract until June 2022 and will be officially presented next week.

Garitano, who was sacked only hours after beating Elche 1-0 on Sunday, became Athletic's coach in December 2018 after being promoted from the reserve team manager.

He led the team to last year's Copa del Rey final which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and leaves them ninth in the standings on 21 points after winning six, drawing three and losing eight of their 17 games this season.

Marcelino's first match is set to be Wednesday's La Liga clash against Barcelona, while he will lead the team into the Spanish Super Cup later this month, meeting holders Real Madrid in the semi-finals.

He will also take charge of the rescheduled Copa del Rey final against Basque rivals Real Sociedad on April 4.

A former midfielder, Marcelino has been a coach since 1997 and taken charge of 320 La Liga games, with his most successful spells coming in charge of Villarreal and Valencia.

He got Villarreal promoted back to La Liga in his first season and then took them to the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2016.

He led Valencia to qualify for the Champions League in two successive seasons and won the 2019 Copa del Rey but was sacked the following September after falling out with owner Peter Lim.

Valencia have gone from bad to worse since Marcelino was dismissed. They are in La Liga's relegation zone.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)