Struggling Spanish club Mallorca hires Mexican coach Aguirre

March 24, 2022 GMT
FILE - Monterrey's coach Javier Aguirre gives a thumbs-up to his players during a Mexican soccer league match against Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Nov. 21, 2021. Struggling Spanish club Mallorca hired veteran Mexican coach Aguirre on March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Alejandro Godinez, File)
FILE - Monterrey's coach Javier Aguirre gives a thumbs-up to his players during a Mexican soccer league match against Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Nov. 21, 2021. Struggling Spanish club Mallorca hired veteran Mexican coach Aguirre on March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Alejandro Godinez, File)
FILE - Monterrey's coach Javier Aguirre gives a thumbs-up to his players during a Mexican soccer league match against Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Nov. 21, 2021. Struggling Spanish club Mallorca hired veteran Mexican coach Aguirre on March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Alejandro Godinez, File)
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FILE - Monterrey's coach Javier Aguirre gives a thumbs-up to his players during a Mexican soccer league match against Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Nov. 21, 2021. Struggling Spanish club Mallorca hired veteran Mexican coach Aguirre on March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Alejandro Godinez, File)
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FILE - Monterrey's coach Javier Aguirre gives a thumbs-up to his players during a Mexican soccer league match against Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Nov. 21, 2021. Struggling Spanish club Mallorca hired veteran Mexican coach Aguirre on March 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Alejandro Godinez, File)

MADRID (AP) — Struggling Spanish club Mallorca hired veteran Mexican coach Javier Aguirre on Thursday.

Aguirre arrives with the goal of saving Mallorca from relegation with nine rounds to go in the Spanish league.

The club owned by American businessman Robert Sarver sits in 18th place with 26 points, one from safety.

“Mallorca has always made a good impression on me,” Aguirre said. “There is potential for the team to stay in the first division.”

Aguirre, who coached México’s national team during two separate stints, had been fired by Mexican club Monterrey in February. He also coached the national teams of Japan and Egypt.

Aguirre has vast experience in the Spanish league, having previously coached Osasuna, Atlético Madrid, Zaragoza, Espanyol and Leganés. He coached more than 450 matches in the Spanish league, Copa del Rey, Champions League and Europa League.

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The 63-year-old Aguirre replaces Luis García Plaza, who was fired after the team lost at Espanyol on Sunday to slid into the relegation zone.

Mallorca, which has young American forward Matthew Hoppe in its squad, has lost six games in a row and hasn’t won since a home victory against Athletic Bilbao in February.

The club is back in the top flight after a season in the second division.

“Being in an uncomfortable position makes you give something extra,” Aguirre said. “I hope it all goes well and in the end we can all celebrate Mallorca’s permanence in the first division.”

García Plaza had stayed two seasons at Mallorca, leading the club back to the first division in his first year in charge.

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