Following Valencia CF’s humiliating 8-1 aggregate defeat to FC Barcelona, and nine winless games in La Liga, Gary Neville feels that the remaining game might act as a catalyst in their recovery from the current slump in form.
Although the players at Valencia CF started the game with eyes set on a win after Alvaro Negredo gave them the lead late in the first half, an 84th-minute equaliser from 19-year-old Cameroonian player Wilfrid Kaptoum frustrated the hosts.
Neville said in the post-match press conference, “The positive thing from this game has been the performance of some of the younger players. I think that we deserved to win, and they played with dignity.”
Valencia CF: Low on possession, but high on vigour to bounce back
Though Valencia only had 37 per cent possession of the ball, they were able to get five shots on target, in comparison to Barcelona’s three, out of a total of 13 attempts. Even though the result wasn’t what any of the Mestalla faithfuls wished for, Neville surely has the back of his players after a dismal cup exit.
“Diallo played well, Villalba too, and Negredo got his goal. In terms of individual performances, it went well. Now we are preparing Saturday’s game, which we know is hugely important. I picked players today with the idea in mind that we want the team as fresh as possible for Saturday,” said Neville.
“I don’t want to put pressure on the young players. They have to grow gradually. There are players with a lot of talent in the academy, and we saw some very good signs,” he added.
Even though Mestalla saw one of its lowest attendance as only 16,200 supporters came to a 55,000 seaters stadium, Gary Neville still believes that with the support of the fans, the club can win games
“I am grateful to the fans who came out to support us. Those who didn’t want to come, are within their rights,” said Neville. “Mestalla will be full on Saturday, and the atmosphere will be electric. We need the fans more than ever on Saturday.”
Gary Neville assumed the position on December 2, 2015, and since then has only been able to win four Copa del Rey games. The club have lost four games and drawn five in La Liga since the ex-Manchester United player took the job.
He is being assisted by his brother Phil Neville who took up the job of assistant manager along with Gary. Although both of them are proven heroes on the field and fairly critical pundits too, their command over Valencia CF’s dressing room seems a bit shaken at the moment. A win against Espanyol FC on Saturday is important for them to draw crowds to the Mestalla.