Valencia boss Gary Neville sang the praises of striker Alvaro Negredo following his team’s 2-0 second-leg Copa del Rey success against minnows Barakaldo.
Neville handed Negredo his first start since early October after the former Manchester City man fell out with previous Coach Nuno Espirito Santo before suffering appendicitis, and the Spanish international responded with his side’s second goal just after the half-hour mark.
Already leading 3-1 from the first leg, Santi Mina had earlier ensured there would be no comeback for the Basques when he headed Valencia in front after just eight minutes, with Los Che going on to record their first victory under the new Coach.
“We are treating this tournament very seriously and I think we can win it because in my career I’ve learned that you can compete in these competitions with different players, although that doesn’t mean you don’t respect your opponents,” Neville told reporters.
“We put out what we thought was a good side as everyone has to play and not be on the bench, so it’s important you give players the opportunity when they deserve it.
“As for Negredo, on my first day I sat down with him and told him everyone is now starting from scratch. You have to introduce him gradually into the team because he has played very little over the last few months, coming back from injury.
“At Eibar he had enormous influence and the Copa del Rey was the perfect game for him to get 90 minutes. We know what we want from him and he worked flat out to give us that.
“Today Negredo looked like the striker I remember from the Premier League,” he added.