'He should resign and apologise' - Valencia legend slams Gary Neville after 7-0 defeat
Published 04/02/2016 | 08:17
Gary Neville insisted he would not resign as Valencia coach despite admitting he felt "helpless" during a humiliating 7-0 defeat to Barcelona on Wednesday night.
Neville's team were torn apart in a Copa del Rey semi-final first leg at the Camp Nou as four goals from Luis Suarez and a hat-trick from Lionel Messi made the return match at the Mestalla next week an irrelevance.
The pressure on the England coach, who has failed to win any of his eight Primera Division matches since taking charge of the club, is mounting.
Asked outright at his post-match press conference if he would resign, Neville replied: "No."
Another reporter asked whether Neville thought it was "logical" that he could now be dismissed, and the Englishman's blunt response was: "Next question."
Neville's greatest concern was for the Valencia fans, who have jeered the team in recent games at the Mestalla.
"Tonight for some reason we went back a big step," he said.
"The Valencia fans did not deserve that and I feel most for them. It's their club and they are the ones that have been with this club all their lives and they're suffering very badly."
The former Manchester United defender insisted he had a "mechanism" for dealing with nights like this one and said he last experienced doubts 18 years ago during his playing career.
"My positivity is immovable in life but when you have moments like this you don't enjoy them at all," he said.
"I felt helpless, trying to change things in some way but knowing the tide of the game was against us.
"That scoreline is unacceptable. The reality of me is that I last had doubts as a player 18 years ago and from that moment onwards I developed a mechanism to deal with moments like this.
"I've just said to the players in the changing room now - 'forget (the defeat), everything in your mind now shifts to (Real) Betis.' Be absolutely clear, we have to deliver on Sunday."
Neville was asked what he would have made of that performance in his former role as a television pundit.
"I would have been critical of the performance," he said.
"That is a really poor performance from us. Forget the scoreline, when you give the ball away in areas like we did against a team like that you leave yourself open to be counter-attacked."
Valencia sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch said it was "not the day to talk about the future" during television interviews following the defeat.
"This day you can't explain. We must apologise to fans for one of the worst results in our history," he added.
Former Valencia and Spain goalkeeper Santiago Canizares was scathing in his assessment of the result on Twitter and said he was surprised that Neville had not resigned.
"I expected the coach's resignation, as well as some apologies. I may be ignorant, but I'm surprised he hasn't done it, I thought he was honest," he wrote on his verified @santicanizares account on Wednesday.
"If Garcia Pitarch trusts in Gary as he said on Monday, I'm disappointed. If it's not like that, why did he say that?
"If (Garcia Pitarch) lied to us, and tomorrow he proposes the sacking of the coach and it's not accepted, it's best if (Garcia Pitarch) leaves as well.
"Worse than the loss, is giving up in the fight. We are facing a test of fire. To demand decisions is responsible, to give up isn't."