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By ESPN Staff

Auxerre get tough as Santini is shown the door

PARIS, May 17 (Reuters) - Auxerre have dismissed coach Jacques Santini after his failure to get the Ligue 1 side into Europe.

The club said in a brief statement on Wednesday that they had ended their collaboration with the former France and Tottenham Hotspur coach.

Auxerre had a good start to the season but then ran out of steam, finishing sixth and out of the European places after going five matches without a win.

Santini was hoping to rebuild his reputation after a brief, frustrating spell at Tottenham when he joined Auxerre in June last year.

A playing member of the great St Etienne side of the 1970s, Santini coached France from 2002 to 2004.

At Auxerre, he succeeded Guy Roux, who was the longest serving coach in European soccer history when he left after a 44-year stint.

Although he was retired, Roux remained influential at the club and his relationship with Santini became increasingly tense.

The decision to sack Santini was taken just after a testimonial match for the 67-year-old Roux at Auxerre's Abbe-Deschamps stadium on Tuesday night.

Several former Auxerre players, among them Eric Cantona and Basile Boli, played in the match.

In recent weeks Roux continually denied reports that Santini, who complained about the club's transfer policy and wanted more say in the decision-making, was on the way out.

Winner of four French titles and two cups as a player with St Etienne, Santini played in the 1976 European Cup final defeat by Bayern Munich in Glasgow.

He then coached Ligue 1 sides Toulouse, Lille, St Etienne, Sochaux and Lyon before replacing Roger Lemerre after France's failure at the 2002 World Cup.

He helped Olympique Lyon clinch the League Cup in 2001 and led them to their first title in 2002 before he stepped down and was replaced by Paul Le Guen.

Under Santini France, European champions in 2000, fell to Greece in the quarter-finals of Euro 2004.