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By ESPN Staff

Irureta throws in the towel at Betis

MADRID, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Javier Irureta has decided to quit as coach of Primera Liga side Real Betis after the club's poor start to the season despite their 1-0 victory at Gimnastic Tarragona on Wednesday.

'I took the decision before the Tarragona match,' Irureta told reporters on Thursday. 'Both sides agreed that we should rescind my contract, but I took the first step. We could have carried on, but it wasn't good.'

Betis are in 18th place in the 20-team Primera Liga, two points behind Levante but with a game in hand.

The former Deportivo Coruna boss took charge of Betis in June, but shortly before the start of the season the club sold their two most influential players - winger Joaquin and leading striker Ricardo Oliveira.

They have struggled ever since, winning just three of their 15 league matches although they are still in the Copa del Rey which they won in 2005.

The 58-year-old coached Depor for seven seasons between 1998 and 2005 leading them to their only league title in 2000 and a Copa del Rey in 2002. He also steered them into the Champions League for five consecutive seasons.

One of the most experienced coaches in Spanish football, Irureta has also coached at Real Oviedo, Racing Santander, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Celta Vigo among others.

Betis did not renew the contract of coach Llorenc Serra Ferrer at the end of last season after they started their campaign in the Champions League and finished up fighting against relegation.