Víctor Sánchez del Amo has broken his silence after his sacking as Malaga head coach was announced on Saturday.
The 43-year-old held a press conference at the Hotel Sol Melía in Guadalmar on Wednesday afternoon, also attended by David Dóniga, Nacho Oria and Carlos Morales, backroom staff members who have also departed the club.
"Regarding our dismissal, we want to reiterate our disagreement with the club's decision - we see it as totally unjust," he said.
Víctor was suspended by the club on Tuesday 7 January, after a sexually explicit video in which he featured went viral on social media. Hours later, he released a statement saying that he had been the victim of "a crime against my privacy with harassment and extortion". According to his version of the events, the blackmailers had got hold of the video and wanted 20,000 euros in Bitcoin in return for not publishing it on social media.
However, following discussions between the club's management and the coach, a mutual agreement was unable to be reached and, according to the club's statement on Saturday, Víctor was relieved of his duties because of "disciplinary reasons" and "serious damage caused to the institution by recent non-sporting events".
"When they suspended me, I thought that meant they wanted me gone," he said on Wednesday. "The club's director general told me of my suspension via WhatsApp, in order to investigate the video and because of my press conference before the Oviedo match. They didn't even ask how me or my family were [...] So I told them to pay me what I was owed and I'd leave, just like that. I didn't want to complicate anything. But they tried to haggle, to pay me less than I was owed. I don't think that's right."
Outpouring of support
Víctor stated that he was then persuaded to change his mind by the outpouring of support from fans and staff, and told the club he wished to continue in his position. "The club's immediate response was to fire me."
Despite his anger with the club, he congratulated the players on their victory over Ponferradina on Tuesday night, over seen by his interim replacement Sergio Pellicer. "We're delighted for the players, the coaches and, above all, the fans." There were sporadic shouts of support for the fired coach during the game.
He did not speak at length of the video (in which he is seen exposing his genital while wearing a Malaga CF training shirt), as there is an ongoing police investigation. However, he did stress the gravity of the crime: "We're talking about crimes whose victims are sometimes driven to suicide, crimes which usually target minors and women - they should be taken seriously."
Víctor also expressed disbelief at how many accounts had shared the video on Twitter before it was taken down. "I just don't know where we're heading. What is social media becoming? Ignorance of the law doesn't mean we don't have personal responsibility."
Days of uncertainty
The coach's sacking was a drawn-out affair, with fans in the dark for much of it. He was initially suspended by the club last Tuesday night; three days later new director general Richard Shaheen announced that "all outcomes were still possible" and that the club were in discussions over "an amicable and satisfactory resolution for all parties". On Saturday, however, a mutual agreement was unable to be reached and the club sacked him and his staff.
Víctor's interim replacement is Sergio Pellicer, who has been in charge of Malaga's reserve side, Atlético Malagueño.
Pellicer, 46, who played for Malaga during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons, made history as a youth coach, reaching the Copa de Campeones de España in the 2015-16 season and taking part in the UEFA Youth League the following year.
During the 2016-17 season, he was assistant first team coach to Marcelo Romero and continued in the role the following season. After coaching Deportivo Fabril for a single campaign (2018-19), he returned to Malaga last summer to lead the reserve team this season.
Pellicer was on the touchline for Tuesday's match against Ponferradina and will also oversee Malaga's away trip to Fuenlabrada on Friday.