sport

Oscar Garcia leaves Brighton

Oscar Garcia has parted company with Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion after 11 months in charge at the Amex Stadium.

Sky sources reported on Sunday that the Spaniard had in the wake of their 4-1 play-off semi-final defeat to Derby County at Pride Park.

Initial reports suggested the board wanted Garcia to take his time over the decision but in a statement on their official website, Brighton confirmed they have now parted company with the 41-year-old.

The statement read: "Brighton & Hove Albion have accepted the resignation of head coach Oscar Garcia.

"Oscar met with the club earlier today, to formally offer his resignation to the board, which has been accepted. He has also informed the club's players of his decision."

Under Garcia, Brighton won 19 of their 46 games during the Championship season and snuck into the play-offs after an injury time Leonardo Ulloa winner in their last regular season fixture at Nottingham Forest.

The former Barcelona youth team manager replaced Gus Poyet last June after the Uruguayan was sacked by the south coast club for gross misconduct.

And in an open letter to the club's fans, Garcia revealed Brighton will always occupy a special place in his heart.

"I would like to thank the Brighton & Hove Albion fans for their tremendous support throughout the past year. I have been proud to be the head coach of your club," he said.

"Yesterday (against Derby), we gave it our best. We didn't have the best of luck, but regardless we were simply beaten by the better team. Overall, when all things are considered, particularly our terrible luck with injuries both yesterday and since the very start of the season, I think it has been an excellent year for the club.

"The Championship is undoubtedly one of the most challenging leagues in the world. It is highly competitive and it is made up of a wide range of clubs with very different budgets. Parachute payments for eight of the clubs in the league and new Financial Fair Play rules make it even harder. Despite these issues, I feel we have performed well.

"I have enjoyed my first experience of English football, and I would like to wish Brighton & Hove Albion and the fans of the club the very best for the future. The club will always have a place in my heart and I hope very soon they will be competing at the top level in English football."

Brighton chairman Tony Bloom added: "We are extremely grateful to Oscar for his efforts this past year, and for providing us with another exciting and memorable season at the club."