Madrid: Sporting Gijon have reacted to Sunday's 5-1 drubbing at Real Sociedad by sacking Manuel Preciado, La Liga's longest-serving coach.

"Maybe it's the same thing, but I don't want to call it firing or sacking, I want to call it a change on the bench," an emotional club president Manuel Vega-Arango, flanked by Preciado, said on Tuesday.

With his distinctive moustache and gravelly voice, the 54-year-old Preciado is one of the league's most charismatic figures and has been with Gijon since 2006.

However, Sunday's reverse at Sociedad left them mired in 19th place with just over half the season played and the president and the club's board decided change was needed.

Preciado's number two Inaki Tejada will take charge for Sunday's game against Osasuna, Gijon said, while local media reported that former Getafe coach Michel, who is currently out of work, was in line to take over permanently.