Gary Neville's managerial...

Soccer

Gary Neville's managerial career has stalled before it even got going

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

10:36 3 Feb 2016


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At his first press conference as the manager of Valencia Football Club, Gary Neville was asked "What would Gary Neville the Sky pundit think of a Spanish manager with no language and no experience of the English league getting one of the big Premier League jobs?"

His response was, "I would question it as a neutral observer and would be sceptical, wanting to be proven otherwise. I understand that I have to prove to Valencia fans that I’m capable of doing this job. Those who have concerns will only be removed by winning football matches."

Those concerns have grown more distressed with each passing week and it appears now, after a 7-0 mauling at the hands of Barcelona, that Neville's time as coach of Valencia could be in serious risk of coming to an end.

A defeat so heavy at the hands of this Barcelona side is a difficult thing to assess. Lionel Messi landed a hat-trick while Luis Suarez netted on four occasions. Messi is the best footballer player that has ever played the game and you can attach whatever superlative you have up your sleeve to Suarez' performances of late and it will still be pejorative. When you consider the porous defense that Neville inherited, it is debatable as to just how much blame can be laid at the former Sky Sports pundit's door.

His side have drawn six and lost three in La Liga since his appointment with his latest defeat coming at the hands of relegation candidates Sporting Gijon at home in a game they are expected to be winning. The only thing keeping Neville afloat was his run in the Copa del Rey but that too is coming to an end, barring a miracle in the second leg.

The former Manchester United defender's relationship with Peter Lim, the owner of the football club, has been a contentious issue but it remains to be seen just how close a friendship they have. It will be tested in the coming days as Valencia fans begin to grow restless with a manager who they were assured could improve their plight.

Rumours from the Camp Nou have also emerged that reporters wanted to talk to a Valencia captain at the end of the game and when none would oblige, brand new signing Denis Cheryshev took up the mantle as team spokesman. 

Ominous signs of a dressing room in tatters and, quite possible, a managerial career that has stalled before it had the chance to get into second gear.

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