Sunday 8 December 2019

'I am aware of the consequences' - Gary Neville's Valencia future is hanging by a thread

Things are not good for Gary and Phil Neville at Valencia
Things are not good for Gary and Phil Neville at Valencia

Richard Martin

Gary Neville’s future at Valencia hangs by a thread after a chastening defeat to struggling Real Betis, with the coach admitting “the obituaries have already been written”.

Neville’s job has been on the line since his side were humiliated 7-0 by Barcelona last Wednesday in the Copa del Rey but hit a new low after Ruben Castro’s 49th minute goal inflicted a fourth defeat in nine league games on the English coach.

And although he walked into the press room at Betis’ Benito Villamarin stadium laughing, to the chagrin of journalists covering Valencia, he admitted he was in a weak position.

“I said before I came that I would be judged in five months, but the obituaries have already been written, I have been judged in six weeks,” Neville said.

 “Our last two league matches were not performances that deserved two defeats but the reality is that they are two defeats and I am aware of the consequences when you don’t get good results. Every defeat feels like a punch in the face to the fans, to the players to myself.”

Neville has failed to win a single game in the league since taking charge, and his side have never taken the lead in any of their nine league matches. When he took over Valencia were five points off the Champions League places, but are now only four points above the relegation zone.

Although this was an improved performance from the shambolic display at the Nou Camp, Valencia struggled to create many chances against Betis, who had previously not won a league game since November. His team had Jose Luis Gaya sent off on 85 minutes, while Shkrodan Mustafi had an injury time goal ruled out for offside.

However, Neville vowed to fight on, refusing to resign after being prompted to do so by journalists.

“There’s no doubt that at times like this, everyone needs to stay together,” he said.

 “Everyone suffers. It’s just not going for us at the moment. I continue to work, I continue to have belief.”

Valencia striker Alvaro Negredo refused to back Neville after the game, simply saying: “We know the coach well but that’s up to the club. We shouldn’t get involved in things we aren’t supposed to.”

Neither the club president Layhoon Chan nor owner Peter Lim have made any statement about Neville’s future since the humbling defeat by Barcelona, but the 40-year-old said he was not concerned by their silence.

“You don’t make statements when you’re winning, you don’t make them when you’re drawing, words are weak,” he said.

“I speak to them three, four, five times a week. I am comfortable with that. What I am uncomfortable about is not getting them the results they deserve. Statements don’t offer any clarity to anyone really. It’s only done when it is necessary and at this moment in time I don’t think that it is necessary.”

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