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By ESPN Staff

Koeman signs as Valencia coach until 2010

MADRID, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Former Dutch international Ronald Koeman signed a 2-1/2-year deal to coach Valencia on Friday after quitting as PSV Eindhoven manager earlier this week.

The 44-year-old ex-Barcelona player replaces Quique Sanchez Flores who was sacked following Sunday's 3-0 defeat at Sevilla.

Sanchez Flores was the third manager to have been fired by Valencia in three years with predecessors Antonio Lopez and Claudio Ranieri also failing to live up to expectations after the success achieved under previous boss Rafa Benitez.

'We wanted to sign an internationally recognised coach,' said Valencia president Juan Soler. 'We are convinced we will be in very good hands. He knows what Valencia's objectives are, he knows the squad and he will bring us the success we want.'

Koeman will be joined by his assistant Tonny Bruins Slot, who previously worked under Johan Cruyff at Barcelona.

Although demolished 5-1 by league leaders Real Madrid at the Mestalla on Wednesday, Valencia remain relatively well placed in sixth spot just two points off the Champions League places and Koeman was confident he could meet the club's objectives.

'Valencia have a lot of quality players and we have to use them to strike the right balance in the team,' he told a news conference.

'The fans are very demanding but that is not a problem if you have good players. Football is for the fans and you have to ensure they enjoy themselves. What we have to do now is get the balance right between entertainment and results.

'I'm really looking forward to coaching Valencia and leading them to the position where they should be.'

Caretaker coach Oscar Fernandez will remain on the bench for Saturday's Primera Liga match against Real Mallorca, but Koeman will replace him when the team host Rosenborg in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Koeman was a member of the Barcelona team that won the 1992 European Cup and four consecutive Primera Liga titles in the early 1990s and he had a spell as assistant at the Catalan club when he began his coaching career.

He returned to the Netherlands to take the job of head coach at Vitesse Arnhem in 2000 and then took charge of former team Ajax the following year, leading the Amsterdam side to the league and Cup double in 2002 and another league title in 2004.

He stepped down in 2005 following a UEFA Cup defeat to Auxerre and then moved to Portuguese champions Benfica, but resigned less than 12 months later after they finished third in the league and signed a two-year deal with PSV.

He led PSV to a dramatic victory in the Dutch championship last season when they pipped rivals Ajax and AZ Alkmaar to the title on goal difference in the final round of matches.