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La Liga side Valencia announced the sacking of coach Miroslav Djukic on Monday just six months after the Serbian had taken charge.

A 3-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Sunday was Valencia's eighth in just 16 league games so far this season, leaving them 10 points off Athletic Bilbao in the fourth Champions League spot. 

However, the 47-year-old did guide Los Che into the last 32 of the Europa League where they will face Ukranian side Dynamo Kiev.

"As a professional I don't understand the decision, but I respect it and wish all the best to the president and to all Valencia fans," said Djukic.

Nico Estevez will take temporary charge of the team for Thursday's Copa del Rey fourth round, second-leg against Gimnastic with the tie delicately balanced following a 0-0 draw in the first-leg.

Djukic had been a popular choice among supporters when he was appointed in June. The former central defender enjoyed six-year spell at the Mestalla as a player during which Valencia won La Liga in the 2001-02 season and reached two consecutive Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001.


Valencia travel to Wales on Thursday with their place in the Europa League knockout phase assured and a matter of pride to play for against a Swansea side looking to lay down new landmarks in their European history.

With two matches remaining in the 12 group, round-robin format, Tottenham, Salzburg, Esbjerg, Ludogorets Razgrad, Fiorentina and Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk are also certain to be in the hat for the round of 32, as the long journey to the May 14 final in Turin continues.

Swansea are on the brink of playing in the spring phase of a European competition for the first time in club history, a far cry from their last continental appearance when they were hammered 10-1 on aggregate in the 1991-92 Cup Winners' Cup, by Monaco.

A Swansea win at the Liberty stadium will seal their status in the next round although should FC Kuban Krasnodar and Swiss club Saint Gallen draw, the Welsh club advance regardless of their result against Valencia.

Michael Laudrup brought the club their first English major trophy last season when they defeated Bradford City 5-0 to win the League Cup and the former Danish captain is working his magic again this season with the club solid in tenth place in the Premier League.

The 49-year-old, who scored 37 goals in 104 international matches, also has fond memories of his counterpart Miroslav Djukic when the Serbian memorably missed a penalty for Deportivo La Coruña in the last minute of the 1994 season against Valencia, handing Laudrup's Barcelona side one of his four Liga crowns.

Djukic served the club he now coaches as a sweeper between 1997 to 2003, but the 2002 Spanish title won during a golden spell for the club is overshadowed by Champions League final defeats in 2000 and 2001 against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively.