July 16, 2007 / 9:06 PM / 12 years ago

Betis unveil new coach Cuper, announce signings

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Betis coach Hector Cuper said he was aiming to ensure there would be no repetition of last season’s struggle against relegation when he took charge of the Primera Liga side on Monday.

New Real Betis coach Hector Cuper of Argentina answers a question during his presentation in Seville, southern Spain, July 16, 2007. REUTERS/Javier Barbancho

“I’ll be working hard to ensure we don’t experience any difficulties and to ensure that we can construct a team with personality that will win games,” the former Inter Milan and Valencia coach told a news conference.

“Our first target is to get 40 points and then we can start setting new objectives.”

The 51-year-old Argentine, whose last coaching job was at Real Mallorca, has signed a one-year contract with the troubled Andalucian club.

Betis announced that Cuper’s appointment would be followed by the recruitment of several new players as they bid to strengthen a team that only just avoided the drop last season.

Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo, Chile winger Mark Gonzalez, Argentine forward Mariano Pavone and Croatia midfielder Marko Babic are all due to be presented to the media on Tuesday.

“I’m pleased with the new signings,” said Cuper. “Ricardo is a keeper with a great character, Pavone is experienced and has scored a lot of goals in Argentina and Mark Gonzalez has a great future ahead of him...”


Betis had a poor start to their last campaign with coach Javier Irureta throwing in the towel in December as the team failed to live up to expectations.

Former French international Luis Fernandez stepped into the breach but left after a humiliating 5-0 home defeat by Osasuna in the penultimate game of the season.

Reserve team coach Paco Chaparro took charge and managed to steer them to safety with a win in their final game.

Cuper quit as coach of Mallorca in February last year, bringing to end his second spell with the islanders.

He was first in charge of Mallorca from 1997 to 1999, taking them to the finals of the King’s Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup as well as a club record third-place finish in the league.

He moved to Valencia in 1999 and took a side with little pedigree in Europe to successive Champions League finals in 2000 and 2001.

The Argentine replaced Marco Tardelli at Inter in 2001 and almost won the Serie A title the following season, falling at the final hurdle by losing the last match to Lazio.

Inter finished second again in 2003 but Cuper was sacked in October that year after his side went four successive Serie A matches without a win.

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