‘Valencia players believe in Neville’

Valencia President Layhoon Chan insists sacking Gary Neville was never considered and explains why Nuno Santo was let go

Neville was appointed in December after Nuno was dismissed and had to wait 12 League games before picking up a first victory, but Chan, affiliated with owner Peter Lim and Meriton, told AS a second change wasn’t an option.

“We’re not supporters of changing the Coach. Maybe that’s something ingrained in Spanish culture, but we understand that changing the Coach a lot is often a disaster,” she explained, later refusing to comment on links with Rafa Benitez for next season.

“We will take decisions on our own convictions. But in Nuno’s case, the context was complex and a consensus decision was taken.

“There was a problem not related to sporting issues, not originally. Nuno was whistled at the presentation after getting 77 points. He was linked to Jorge Mendes, but that wasn’t a real problem.

“When the results weren’t what we wanted, that started to affect the team. The players were frightened at Mestalla and that affected the relationship between Coach and players. They stopped believing. We had to make a decision.

“Why Neville? There’s not a lot of choice in December. We went to Neville because we know him. We knew he has leadership virtues and we needed a motivator, someone to reactivate the team and restore the relationship with the fans.

“We knew he hadn’t coached before but we believed in him. He’s a club man and settled the division at the time. He was ideal, in our opinion.

“We have a young squad, not used to the pressure that was on them and Gary had the ideal way to manage this anxiety, though results didn’t get arrive until this week.

“You can’t change a Coach for a bad run when the players believe in him. They believe in Neville. I understand the culture of football in Spain but we believe in what we do and we understand if a direction is correct. And we’re going well with Gary.

“Now the victories are arriving. We’re looking to settle the project. The first year was better than expected, not so much this year, but we’ll continue to invest.”

Tags Chan Lay Hoon Gary Neville Nuno Santo