VALENCIA, Spain -- Spanish Primera Liga club Valencia sacked coach Quique Sanchez Flores on Monday, even though the team lies fourth in the league table, trailing leaders Real Madrid by four points.
Sanchez Flores was capped 15 times by Spain and was in the 1990 World Cup squad.
Reserve team coach Oscar Fernandez has taken over as caretaker manager.
Their 3-0 league defeat at Sevilla on Sunday, came a few days after a shock 2-0 Champions League loss against Rosenborg.
Valencia are now in third place in Group B of the Champions League qualifying competition, four points adrift of leaders Chelsea, who beat them 2-1 at the Mestella this month.
Valencia's director of communications Jesus Wollstein said: "The Valencia board met and after analysing the technical report given by the sporting director (Miguel Angel Ruiz) on the situation of the first team, which was considered irreversible after the latest matches in the league and Champions League, have taken the decision to dismiss the coach Quique Sanchez Flores."
Sanchez Flores' sacking rounds off more than a year of public disagreements with club president Juan Soler over transfer policy and spending.
The coach was also become unpopular with the fans, especially since the loss to Chelsea.
He said: "I've lost a job but regained my life. It's painful but at the same time a relief.
"These have been difficult years, with a certain loneliness, but I'm leaving with my head held high."
Sanchez Flores spent 10 seasons with Valencia as a player before moving to Real Madrid in 1994. He helped Real lift the Spanish title prior to joining Zaragoza.
He turned to coaching with Real Madrid's youth team and then took charge of newly promoted Getafe, guiding them to 13th place.
Valencia brought him in to replace Claudio Ranieri in 2005 and he steered them to third place in La Liga.
This performance qualified them for the 2006-07 Champions League and they were Spain's most successful team by reaching the quarterfinals.
Another good season in their domestic league earned a fourth place finish, despite a crop of injuries to key players, and that took them into Europe's top club competition again this year, but their initial performances have been a disappointment.
Sanchez Flores made 15 appearances for Spain and was a member of the 1990 World Cup squad. E-mail to a friend