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 By Tom Marshall

Cruz Azul parts ways with manager Paco Jemez after one year

Paco Jemez has been linked to jobs in La Liga in recent weeks.

After parting ways with Cruz Azul on Monday, coach Paco Jemez will return to Spain satisfied with the work he accomplished in his year in charge.

Jemez signed a one-year contract last November and guided La Maquina to its first playoff run in three years, although the team crashed out of the 2017 Apertura quarterfinal on Sunday against Mexico City rival Club America.

"We were sad about the result, but very proud of what we've done" said former Rayo Vallecano coach Jemez on ESPN AM. "Until you are on the inside of a club like Cruz Azul with the sensation that the past crushes you, people don't realize [that] it is a lot more difficult to manage than other [clubs]."

Jemez was at the center of a number of media storms as he lashed out at the domestic Mexican press in his time at Cruz Azul, but the 47-year-old suggested it was a diversionary tactic to keep the pressure off his players at a club without a title in 20 years.

"It didn't worry me that the media was focused on me because it was what we needed and if the pressure had fallen onto the players then we possibly wouldn't have made the playoffs," Jemez said.

The coach added that he is returning to Spain to be closer to his family and that he leaves the club in good shape moving forward.

He also praised Liga MX, saying: "It's a very good league, possibly an unknown league, but it has surprised me a lot in a good way. I've learned a lot, it's demanded a lot from me."

Jemez pointed out that the rules regarding the watering of the pitch need to be changed to improve the spectacle and the amount of time-wasting needs to be cut down, but added that the Liga MX that has "all the conditions to be a great league and much better known than it is."

Jemez has recently been linked with La Liga clubs Las Palmas and Alaves, and the manager himself admitted last week that he wouldn't be short of offers upon leaving Cruz Azul.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.

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