Things did not go much better for Rubi in Seville. He was sacked last week after losing 1-0 to Athletic Bilbao with Betis in the bottom half of the table. Following a three-month pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, Espanyol returned to action with a 2-0 win against Alaves and a goalless draw at Getafe, where they played the majority of the game with 10 men. “Espanyol have taken the decision to relieve Abelardo from his responsibilities as first-team coach,” a statement read on Saturday. “The decision comes on the back of recent performances and with a desire to avoid relegation. CEST Abelardo, 50, is the third manage Espanyol have fired since Rubi left the club for Real Betis last summer. Ex-B team coach David Gallego was dismissed in October and his replacement, Pablo Machin, was replaced in December. Upd. at 12:57 “Abelardo joined the club in December 2019 and has been in charge for 17 games. El Espanyol despide a Abelardo y coloca a Rufete hasta final de temporada Espanyol have sacked coach Abelardo Fernandez ahead of Sunday’s game against Real Madrid with the club bottom of La Liga and eight points from safety. Rufete, the club’s sporting director, will take over until the end of the season. They progressed in the Europa League, eventually losing in the last 32 to Wolverhampton Wanderers, but have struggled in the league and have spent the majority of the season in the bottom three. They host league leaders Madrid on Sunday before a trip to Champions League-chasing Real Sociedad on Thursday. Sam Marsden IN SPORT.ES @samuelmarsden “The rest of the coaching members of the coaching team, Tomas Hervas and Inkai Tejada, have also been released. With just seven games to go in La Liga, Espanyol are eight points behind Eibar, who are fourth bottom, and face a daunting run-in. 27/06/2020 “Espanyol are grateful to Abelardo and his coaching team for their implication during the months they were in charge and wish them success in the future, both personally and professionally.” They also have to play away at local rivals Barcelona and Valencia before the season ends. After finishing seventh last season and qualifying for the Europa League, Espanyol have never recovered from the loss of Rubi, who left the club, along with striker Borja Iglesias, for Betis last summer. However, defeat at home to Levante last weekend, followed by Thursday’s 1-0 loss at Betis has seen the club take drastic action as they desperately fight to save their top-flight status. However, they still have home games against relegation rivals Leganes, Eibar and, on the final day of the season, Celta Vigo.