Fri, Apr 01, 2016 - Page 20 News List

Neville fired after third consecutive loss

AP, MADRID

Then-Valencia coach Gary Neville reacts during a news conference in Vienna on Feb. 24.

Photo: EPA

Spanish club Valencia have fired coach Gary Neville less than four months after hiring the former England defender.

The club made the announcement on Wednesday, nine days after they lost their third game in a row in La Liga.

“After careful consideration, the club decided to make a change with the best interests of the Valencia CF moving forward this season,” it said in statement. “We thank Gary for his work at Valencia and wish him the best in the future.”

Valencia also released a message from Neville.

“I would like to thank Valencia Football Club, the fans, staff and the players,” he said. “I would have liked to have continued the work I started, but understand that we are in a results business and in the 28 games, they have not been to my standards or to those which are required by this club.”

Valencia won only 10 games under Neville, drawing seven and losing the other 11.

The club said assistant coach Pako Ayestaran is to take over the squad until the end of the season. Ayestaran had been with Valencia as an assistant from 2001 to 2004, when they won two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup trophy.

He later became an assistant coach with Liverpool, helping the English club win the 2005 UEFA Champions League and the 2006 FA Cup. He then worked as head coach for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel, and Santos Laguna and Estudiantes Tecos in Mexico.

Neville was in his first head-coaching job. He spent much of his post-Manchester United playing career as a television pundit before taking a part-time coaching role with England in 2012. He is expected to rejoin the England squad ahead of Euro 2016 in France.

Neville leaves Valencia 14th in La Liga, only six points above relegation zone.

After Neville took over in December last year, Valencia went 12 games without a win in the league.

They won two in a row in February, but earned only one other victory after that.

The team has lost three consecutive league games and was eliminated by rivals Athletic Bilbao in the UEFA Europa League.

The latest loss was at home to RC Celta de Vigo on Sunday last week, and before that, they were defeated at last-placed Levante UD.

Valencia’s next game is at UD Las Palmas, who are only one point behind Valencia in La Liga.

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