Gary Neville sacked by Valencia after less than four months in charge

Gary Neville
Gary Neville had been named Valencia head coach until the end of the season

Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville has been sacked by Valencia after less than four months in charge of the Spanish club.

The 41-year-old, who is part of the England coaching set-up, was given his first managerial job in December.

Valencia won three of their 16 league games under the former television pundit, and 10 of 28 games overall.

Neville said he wanted to stay but results had "not been to my standards" or those "required by this club".

He added that he understood "we are in a results business".

Neville's younger brother Phil is also part of the Valencia coaching team and will be retained.

Neville first faced calls to quit after a 7-0 loss to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final first leg in February.

Gary Neville 'won't sleep well' after Valencia's 7-0 defeat to Barcelona

His last match in charge was a 2-0 home defeat by Celta Vigo just before the international break.

He has spent the past six days with the England squad for friendly games with Germany and the Netherlands.

Former Liverpool assistant manager Pako Ayestaran, 53, will take charge for the rest of the season.

Pako joined the club as assistant coach in February in a move that Neville insisted was his decision.

"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," Neville said at the time.

"I understand it might look like there's something going on. There absolutely isn't."

Gary Neville
"The last thing I want levelled at me when I leave here is that Gary Neville lacks commitment," said Neville in December

Valencia owner Peter Lim also co-owns Salford City along with the Neville brothers and former Manchester United team-mates Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes.

Neville's management career began with a Champions League loss to Lyon at the Mestalla and it was not until 13 February that Los Che clinched their first of only three league wins.

Cup competitions provided some respite for Neville, with seven wins coming in the Copa del Rey and Europa League.

Neville retired in 2011 after 602 Manchester United appearances and 85 England caps. He won 16 trophies at United and represented his country at five major tournaments.

Six-time Spanish champions Valencia are 14th in the table, six points clear of the relegation zone with eight games remaining.

On Saturday they face Las Palmas, who are one place below them, and meet four of the top six - including both Barcelona and Real Madrid - before the end of the season.


European football expert Andy Brassell:

"I don't think he did have any chance of turning it around and I think it was an incredibly difficult first job.

Not just because of the relative lack of experience, not just because of the size of Valencia, but because of the situation he was going into.

The fans were pretty unhappy with the way the club was being run, players were dispirited but you add to that the lack of experience, the communication barrier - it was just all too much."

Spanish football journalist Graham Hunter on BBC Radio 5 live:

"A cocktail of horrible factors piled against him. The first problem was he trusted Peter Lim - trusted that he'd be given time.

"I don't think in any way his credibility - as a coach, an analyst or somebody who will be brilliant for British football in the coming years - has been dented one little bit.

"He leaves a club that is still badly wounded, badly put together and he would have been the man - once he learned Spanish fluently - to put the club right again, off the pitch as well as on it, next season."

Gary Lineker
Match of the Day's Gary Lineker expressed sympathy for Neville

Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale said it was "a shame he's been sacked".

Speaking ahead of Saturday's El Clasico derby with Barcelona, Bale said: "It is obviously difficult coming to Spain anyway and being a manager where you really do have to be vocal.

"I'm sure he'll bounce back from the experience and it will stand him in good stead for the future."

Gary Neville: Was he struck by England's Euro 96 curse?

'I'm not going to sleep well tonight'

Gary Neville's Valencia tenure in quotes:

  • "Valencia are a huge football club of immense standing - and I know from my time as a player the passion and dedication of the Valencia fans" (2 December as he took charge)
  • "Sitting on the television over the last few years, it is time now to stand up. If I turned down this job I could have kissed goodbye to my credibility" (3 December - first news conference)
  • "You're asking me about my position. I find this question ridiculous. It's from you. Don't put this on to the fans" (31 January after fans booed another defeat)
  • "I am not going to sleep well tonight. This is one of the worst experiences I've ever gone through in football" (3 February after the 7-0 defeat to Barcelona)
  • "I last doubted myself 18 years ago. After that, I developed coping mechanisms to deal with situations. I'm fine" (After the same game)
  • "I said before I came that I would be judged in five months. I have been judged in six weeks" (After a 1-0 defeat to lowly Real Betis)
  • "There can be a hurricane on the outside but you have to be in the eye of the storm on the inside" (12 February after no wins in nine league games)
  • "I understand it might look like there's something going on. There absolutely isn't" (17 February after Pako Ayestaran is appointed)
  • "I take responsibility and apologise to the fans. It is unacceptable to play like that in a derby. We deserve all the criticism" (13 March after losing to bottom club Levante)

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