- Gary Neville’s miserable Valencia run took a turn for the worse on Wednesday when his side were romped 7-0 by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
- Neville was asked three times if he will step down as coach; responded “no” each time.
- His coaching career may be over before it’s even started.
In a staggering display of magical skill and sheer brutality, Luis Suárez netted four goals to outdo Lionel Messi’s three, giving Barça a towering lead going into next week’s second leg against Valencia. For Gary Neville, it was a reminder of just how humiliating being a football manager can be.
“This was one of my most painful nights in football” ~ Gary Neville
Neville was left to contemplate how his side got it so wrong against a rampant Barcelona team that saw Messi and Suárez at their very best. After storming off the pitch when the final whistle blew, Neville was hounded by reporters who threw punches at him from all angles. Despite enormous pressure on Neville since his dismal start as Valencia manager, the former Man Utd. player insisted he had no intention of resigning.
Suso García Pitarch – the club’s sporting director – called it “one of the worst results in our history,” causing fans to believe that Neville is heading for the exit. It wasn’t just that his side were crushed by a magnificent Barcelona; it was that they could have lost 12-0. To make matters worse, Neville was left shocked in the first half when Shkodran Mustafi was sent off in an astonishing display of self-discipline – or lack of in this case.
“The scoreline is unacceptable. I have not enjoyed tonight. I won’t sleep well tonight. I didn’t like what I saw.”
While Neville’s words indicated a man at the peak of frailty, he assured fans that Valencia will bounce back from this crushing loss. Many believe that Neville must face the boot, especially given their run of form since his appointment. In eight La Liga games, Valencia have won none of them. When they lost 1-0 last weekend to Sporting Gijón at the Mestalla, it was the first time they had been beaten at home in the league since 2014.
Rumors are floating around that the club’s Singaporean owner Peter Lim is in emergency talks with García Pitarch about the future of the club. In football language, that doesn’t translate well for Neville.