Former Manchester United player turned manager Gary Neville has broken his abysmal run as Valencia coach with a scrappy 2-1 win over struggling Espanyol. The win did little to reassure Valencia’s board however that Neville is the man to lead them out of the doldrums.
For the first 70 minutes, it looked as if Neville was heading for the guillotine. 52 minutes into the game, Espanyol’s Oscar Duarte scored a header to send shockwaves across the Mestalla. Neville’s nightmare got better when substitute Alvaro Negredo scored with a deflected shot in the 71st minute. Moments later, Denis Cheryshev headed home the winner as Neville celebrated his first league win in ten attempts.
Prior to the game, Neville told media that this was a must-win game after overseeing four losses and five draws in La Liga. No shit. Spanish media have questioned Neville’s ability to manage a Spanish club considering he barely speaks a word of the language. What they don’t know is that he barely speaks a word of coherent English either. Under his reign, Valencia have been mocked for their terrible play and lack of discipline on the field.
After a 7-0 assault by Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey, Neville was left humiliated and facing the axe. To make matters worse, several Barcelona players sent taunting tweets after the romp, kicking an already bloodied Neville in the face.
While the win will likely give Neville a good night’s sleep, he will be closely monitored when he leads Valencia on an away trip to Granada next week. Granada currently sit second from the bottom of La Liga, so anything but a win will likely spell the end for Neville.