Gary Neville insists he asked Valencia to appoint Pako Ayestaran as ‘he sees football as I see it’ but helps with the language too.
Neville was speaking at a Press conference to preview Los Che’s Europa League tie against Rapid Vienna but was asked about Ayestaran, who worked for a long time with Rafa Benitez.
“Let me be crystal clear. It was my suggestion. My appointment. I talked to [Jamie] Carragher about Pako two weeks ago,” Neville revealed, AS reports.
“I spoke with the President at Christmas, even before the sporting director was appointed. This was my thing. I told Carragher before I told [sporting director] Jesus Garcia Pitarch.
“We needed to strengthen. I spent a full day with him. He sees football as I see it. We agreed on everything. This was my decision and it was in a conversation with the President at Christmas. It was discussed even before the appointment of Pitarch.
“He isn’t here to conduct training. I run that. Now I’ve got an interpreter on the pitch. Now we just have to say things once, not twice. He completes the team with Phil Neville and Miguel Angulo.
“Of course the language was a handicap. Every decision made had to be made considering where I am. We speak Spanish here. That’s the rule. And sometimes I need something translated but everything I’ve done has been to immerse myself in Spanish and Valencian culture.
“Pako’s arrival gives us a clearer line of communication on the pitch. I’m the Coach. I will be until the end of the season. If I go, he goes too. There was a vacuum and I realised I needed to bring someone in. Now I feel more comfortable.”
The Press conference eventually turned to the match and Neville tried to avoid admitting his side are favourites against the Austrians.
“I don’t know what the bookmakers think. What I would say is I’ve seen their last three games, they’re organised and a good team,” he explained, before moving on to the fitness of Diego Alves, recovering from a long-term knee injury.
“I’ll have to talk to Diego and the other two goalkeepers. He’s been out a long time and playing two games a week might not be advisable. But I haven’t spoken with the other ‘keepers. It’s possible there’ll be rotation.”