Lotina quits Espanyol after dramatic relegation escape

May 14, 2006

MADRID, May 14 (Reuters) - Espanyol coach Miguel Angel Lotina announced he will be giving up his post after his team staged a dramatic escape from relegation in their final league match of the season.

'I think it is better to leave now at a moment of celebration rather than delay things for too long,' Lotina told a news conference after his side's 1-0 win at home to Real Sociedad on Saturday.

Fellow strugglers Alaves looked as if they were the team that would avoid the drop after they took a 1-0 lead against Deportivo Coruna, but Espanyol midfielder Ferran Corominas scored a stoppage-time strike that kept the Catalans in the top flight and sent the Basque team into the second division.

Lotina took charge of Espanyol at the start of last season and steered the side to their best league placing in almost a decade when they finished fifth in the Primera Liga.

This season they won the King's Cup, crushing Real Zaragoza 4-1 in the final at the Bernabeu, but the team's future in the top flight was in doubt right up to the last minute.

'I think it has been a very satisfactory two years,' said Lotina. 'I don't say that just because we won the Cup, but also because we have played some good football.

'We have done a lot of good work with the youth sides and in a recent game eight home-grown players played for the first team. I can only praise Espanyol and I believe that the club has all the ingredients needed to triumph in the future.

'I'm now going to take a rest and I can tell you that I have not signed an agreement with any other club.'