Gary Neville accepts he failed as a manager at Valencia
GARY NEVILLE accepts he failed to meet expectations at Valencia after his troubled tenure came to an end on Wednesday.
The 41-year-old former England and Manchester United defender, currently part of Roy Hodgson's England coaching team, was a surprise replacement for Nuno Espirito Santo in December and he failed to make an impression during his four months at the Mestalla.
With Valencia languishing in 14th place in the Primera Division table, Los Che have announced Neville is no longer employed as first-team coach, with former Liverpool assistant Pako Ayestaran taking the reins until the end of the season.
Neville, who is understood to have expected bad news following his return from England duty, thanked the Spanish club for the opportunity: "I would like to thank Valencia, the fans, staff and the players," he said.
"I would have liked to have continued the work I started. But I understand that we are in a results business and, in the 28 games [10 wins, seven draws and 11 losses], they have not been to my standards or to those which are required by this club."
Neville showed little sign of his tenuous position at Valencia impacting him during England's meet-up for games against Germany and Holland. He is said to have been his usual ebullient self and will now be able to spend more time helping Hodgson's men prepare for Euro 2016.
Neville, who has also provided TV punditry for Sky Sports following his retirement as a player in 2011, delayed joining up with England last week as he attempted to cling on to his job. Fans had been calling for the Englishman's head after a 2-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo represented a third successive league loss.
Speaking to the press after the Celta game, he pledged his commitment to Valencia, who hired him on December 2: "The last thing I want levelled at me when I leave here is that Gary Neville lacks commitment because it's not something that's ever been said about me in my life," he said.
"I have come to love this club and city, I want to give my all to the club, they deserve nothing less."
Neville's career in the east-coast city, where brother Phil was already working as a coach, began with a Champions League loss to Lyon at the Mestalla and it was not until February 13 that Los Che clinched their first of only three league wins under his tenure. Ten days earlier, Valencia were thrashed 7-0 by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey and they have subsequently slipped out of the Europa League courtesy of domestic rivals Athletic Bilbao.
His temporary successor Ayestaran, brought to Anfield by Benitez for a three-year spell after the pair won La Liga with Valencia in 2004, will take Els Taronges to Las Palmas on Sunday, in the first of eight games that could prove to be an extended audition for the permanent role.
Reports in Spain suggest Valencia - owned by Singaporean Peter Lim - are also considering an approach for Middlesbrough's Spanish boss Aitor Karanka.