Valencia President Manuel Llorente has tried to set straight the reports over Fernando Gago’s ‘rebellion’ and has also hit back at Mauricio Pellegrino.
In the aftermath of Pellegrino’s sacking on Saturday night, rumours began to circulate that midfielder Gago stood up in the dressing room and in front of all his teammates told Llorente that he wanted out of the club.
In reaction to his Coach’s sacking, Gago’s action has drawn indirect criticism from more than one of his teammates, with Ricardo Costa and captain David Albelda, who lost his place in the team to Gago, commenting that anyone can leave the club if they do not want to follow the line.
In presenting Ernesto Valverde as Pellegrino’s replacement, Llorente was taken to task on the issue surrounding Gago.
“In the last 24 hours he has not informed me that he wants to leave…” replied the President ominously when asked if the Argentine was on his way out.
“On the Saturday, when the decision was made to dismiss Pellegrino, he was quite concerned and what was said will stay between us.
“These issues are there to be resolved. Whoever does not want to stay - and I do not mean Gago, but any player - then the doors are open.
“At no time when I spoke with the player in the dressing room did he say that he wanted to leave. Yes he was concerned, because he identified with Mauricio, but I did not interpret that he wanted to quit.
“I saw him disappointed, like many of the players.”
Llorente’s decision to dismiss Pellegrino was heavily criticised by the tactician as ‘hot-headed’ and made out of ‘fear’ rather than rationale.
“For me, the fear was in seeing how the team had lost at Malaga and against Real Sociedad. Such a decision was taken by the circumstances that occurred.
“We have failed with the former Coach and it is a decision that was taken because we felt that the time was there for us to be in the Champions League positions, but it was not a hot-headed decision at all.”