Calleja no longer Villarreal manager - club statement

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Atletico Madrid v Villarreal - Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - February 23, 2020 Villarreal coach Javier Calleja REUTERS/Susana Vera

(Reuters) - Villarreal have parted ways with manager Javi Calleja after the Spaniard guided them to a fifth-place finish in La Liga to qualify for the Europa League, the club announced on Monday.

Villarreal were eighth in the standings before the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the season but Calleja’s side enjoyed an upturn in form after the restart, winning seven of their 11 matches to move up the standings.

The 42-year-old said after their last game, a 4-0 home win over Eibar on Sunday, that he was unsure about his future at the club.

"Javi Calleja is no longer Villarreal CF head coach," the club said in a statement here.

“The Yellows would like to thank him for his hard work, dedication and professionalism during his time as Yellows first-team manager and wish him the best of luck in his sporting career.”

Calleja managed Villarreal for 15 months before being dismissed in December 2018, only to be reinstated to the post six weeks later.

Spanish newspapers Marca and AS reported that former Arsenal coach Unai Emery has signed a pre-contract agreement to coach Villarreal next season.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar