Gary Neville insisted Valencia fans did not “ask” him to bring on Alvaro Negredo after confusion erupted in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid.
Neville’s dugout sparked mayhem in the second half at Mestalla, when Negredo got stripped and ready to come on, before he was told to sit back down and eventually introduced, but the Coach made it clear his messages were not lost in translation and that Aderllan Santos’ red card was to blame.
“Negredo was going to come on, but then I was told Santos had been dismissed, so I turned to [Abdennour] and said ‘Abdennour, you go on’ and Alvaro sat back down.
“The coaching staff then asked me, ‘why don’t we go for it and play with [Joao] Cancelo, [Shkodran] Mustafi and [Guilherme] Siqueira in a back three?’
“I changed my mind from thinking that we needed another center-back to putting our necks on the line.
“Perhaps the first decision would’ve been better, but in no way did I bring on Negredo because Mestalla asked me to.
“I won’t blame individuals for the goals [we conceded]. I have to see what happened, but they were collective problems, not individual ones.
“The first 25 minutes weren’t good, but we bounced back and went forward.
“Diego Alves made a great save in the second half, but what hurt us most was Santos’ red.
“I’m disappointed by the defeat and I don’t like mistakes being repeated.
“I feel like how I did last week [against Athletic Bilbao]. I think we could’ve got a little more from this game.
“We played against one of the best teams in Europe and put them under difficulty for 70 minutes.”