La Liga has its first managerial casualty of the season after newly promoted Las Palmas sacked manager Paco Herrera earlier this week just 8 games into the campaign. His replacement Quique Setien will take charge of his first match this weekend as Villarreal visit Gran Canaria.
Despite a poor start from Las Palmas which has seen them pick up just 5 points from their opening 8 Primera Division matches, it was still something of a surprise to see them so hastily dispense with the services of the man who guided the club to promotion last season.
Herrera achieved what numerous managers before him had failed to do and ended the club’s 13 year absence from La Liga in his first season in charge of the Canary Islanders. His side seemed to settle pretty quickly into life at the top level too with a win at home to Sevilla and very creditable showings in tough away matches at Atletico Madrid, Celta Vigo and Barcelona.
However back-to-back defeats, first at home to Eibar prior to a crushing 4-0 loss at Getafe last Sunday have persuaded the Las Palmas board to ring the changes. From the outside at least it smacks very much as a knee-jerk reaction to what admittedly was an abject display.
Herrera showed no sign that he was worried for his future in his post-match media duties instead expressing his determination to build towards this weekend’s match with Villarreal. However within 24 hours he had been shown the door and Quique Setién had already been confirmed as his successor.
It was the cruelest of exits for Herrera who hasn’t been allowed the time to finish the job he so impressively started last year and it now falls to another man to try and establish Las Palmas as a top flight club once more.
Setién has plenty of experience of managing in Spain’s lower leagues primarily with CD Lugo where he has spent the last 6 years. He guided the Galician minnows into the Second tier in 2012 and managed to keep them there with three successive mid-table finishes before his departure in June.
Unquestionably Setién, who also had a spell in charge of Racing Santander between 2001 and 2002, did a good job at Lugo but his lack of top flight experience will be a concern and he faces a mammoth task to keep Las Palmas up.
At 57 he will manage in the Primera Division for the first time this weekend when high-flying Villarreal visit Estadio Gran Canaria. Setién has had several days to work with his new players and has already indicated there will be changes for what is a tough opener. Villarreal won 5 of their opening 6 matches and were impressive 4-0 winners in the Europa League in midweek, boosted by the return of one or two players from injury and they’ll certainly be targeting 3 points from the game.
Las Palmas go to the Santiago Bernabeu next weekend so it is a real baptism of fire for La Liga’s newest manager. On the mainland at least many are already writing off Las Palmas who are the bookmakers favourites for relegation but with a board that has already displayed its ruthless streak, the pressure will be on Setién to deliver results from the off and it is an unenviable task that awaits him.
How the Week played out in Gran Canaria
(with a little help from the Las Palmas Twitter Feed)
Sunday – Las Palmas hammered 4-0 at Getafe.
Monday – Herrera is fired and within hours Setién is confirmed as his replacement.
Tuesday – Paco Herrera bids an emotional adios at his final news conference before the new man is presented to the press.
Wednesday – Setién takes charge of training for the first time.
Friday – Setién plots changes and chairman Miguel Ángel Ramírez attempts to justify his decision to call time on Herrera’s reign.