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By ESPN Staff
Jan 14, 2008

Garitano succeeds Fernandez at Zaragoza

MADRID, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Former player Ander Garitano was appointed coach of Real Zaragoza on Monday following the dismissal of coach Victor Fernandez. Garitano, who had been in charge of one of the club's youth sides, was confident he could turn the team around after their recent run of poor form. 'I haven't the slightest doubt that I'm up to the job, I'm in good spirits and I'm confident that the team we've put together will be able to take this club forward,' the 38-year-old told a news conference. Garitano, who made his name as a midfielder at Athletic Bilbao, played for Zaragoza for six seasons between 1996 and 2002 before retiring and moving on to the coaching staff. Club president Eduardo Bandres said Garitano was not an interim appointment. Earlier, his predecessor Fernandez said he understood the club's decision to dismiss him given the team's failure to live up to expectations in the first half of the season. 'They got rid of me because the results were a long way from meeting the ambitious objectives the club set for itself and that is a legitimate and respectable reason,' the 47-year-old told a news conference. 'I'm relaxed and calm but hurt by the fact I couldn't deliver what they wanted.' Zaragoza slipped to 12th in the table after a 2-2 home draw with Real Mallorca on Sunday, their ninth consecutive Primera Liga game without a win. 'I felt I could turn things around as we were only halfway through the season,' said Fernandez, who was coach when Zaragoza won the 1994 King's Cup and the 1995 European Cup Winners' Cup and returned to the club in 2006. 'Two stints at Zaragoza are enough,' he said. 'I won't be coming back as coach that's for sure. I would only return as sporting director or president.' (Reporting by Simon Baskett, Editing by Alison Wildey)