Coach Aguirre pledges to stay at Atletico

May 18, 2008

MADRID, May 18 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid coach Javier Aguirre ended speculation over his future on Sunday by committing himself to the Primera Liga club for next season.

The former Mexico coach steered Atletico into the Champions League third qualifying round with a fourth-placed finish this year. Atletico last played in the competition in the 1996-7 season.

'I will stay another year. I will give a news conference on Monday to explain the details,' Aguirre said after his side lost their final game 3-1 at Valencia.

Aguirre joined Atletico from Osasuna in 2006 and steered them into the UEFA Cup for this season, and became the first coach since the side returned to the top flight in 2002 to last more than one campaign.

Atletico's inconsistent form throughout the year has seen Aguirre criticised in the local media, and by some of the club's fans.

He had refused to say whether he would take up the automatic extension clause in his contract triggered by steering Atletico into Europe last weekend.