Thursday 20 October 2016

'It was my appointment'- Gary Neville says new assistant at Valencia not a threat to his job

Published 17/02/2016 | 18:35

Valencia's head coach Gary Neville. Photo: Alberto Saiz/AP Photo
Valencia's head coach Gary Neville. Photo: Alberto Saiz/AP Photo

Gary Neville insisted the appointment of Pako Ayestaran as his assistant in no way undermines his position as head coach of Valencia.

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Neville announced on Saturday after finally registering his first league win at the 10th attempt that Ayestaran, formerly assistant to Rafael Benitez at Valencia and Liverpool, would be joining his staff.

With Neville under pressure following his poor start to life in Spain, it has been interpreted in some quarters as a move that calls the former Manchester United defender's authority into question.

But Neville stressed bringing in Ayestaran was solely his idea and was not related to the appointment of Jesus Garcia Pitarch as sporting director last month.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Thursday's Europa League clash with Rapid Vienna, Neville said: "I can be absolutely 100 per cent clear that it was my suggestion and my appointment and no one else's.

"I spoke to Jamie Carragher two weeks ago about Pako. I spoke to the president as far back as Christmas before the sporting director was appointed.

"I'm the head coach of Valencia, I will be the head coach of Valencia for the rest of this season. If I leave, Pako will leave. He's come to be part of my coaching staff.

"I understand it might look like there's something going on. There absolutely isn't. After about 10 or 14 days, I recognised I needed to strengthen the coaching set-up. I feel more comfortable already."

Ayestaran will act partly as a translator while Neville works on his Spanish, and the England coach conceded communication is an issue.

He said: "Of course it's a handicap in some ways. It's my problem. In our coaching room, we speak Spanish. That's my rule that I've introduced. Sometimes I need certain things translated.

"Everything I've done since I've come here has been to try to immerse myself in the culture of Spain and Valencia - with my family, on the pitch and off the pitch.

"The introduction of Pako gives us a clear communication line on the training pitch. I will still continue to do those important moments in training (through a translator), where I feel I need to get my point across."

Valencia, who are without the suspended Aymen Abdennour and Shkodran Mustafi, dropped down into the Europa League from the Champions League after finishing third in their group.

Rapid Vienna topped their Europa League group ahead of Villarreal and go into the first leg of the last-32 clash on the back of a 3-0 derby win over Austria Vienna at the weekend.

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