Valencia boss Gary Neville has appointed Pako Ayestaran — former assistant to Rafael Benitez at Liverpool and Valencia — to his coaching staff as he looks to turn the season around.

 

The news of this addition to Neville’s coaching staff came after the 2-1 win against Espanyol, which was also Valencia’s first La Liga win since the Manchester United legend took charge of the club.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Valencia’s Europa League Round of 32 fixture against Rapid Wien, Gary Neville said (via BBC Sport), “I can be absolutely 100% clear that it was my suggestion and my appointment and no-one else’s.”

Following a run of nine games without a victory in La Liga since December, Neville was reportedly keen to add more useful members to his staff.

“After about 10 or 14 days, I recognised I needed to strengthen the coaching set-up. I feel more comfortable already,” he added.

Pako Ayestaran will be joining Phil Neville on Gary Neville’s coaching staff

It was being speculated in the Spanish and English press that Ayestaran’s inclusion in the coaching staff was the brainchild of the new Sporting Director at Valencia, Jesus Garcia Pitarch, who was appointed in January 2016.

But Gary Neville cleared the air at the pre-match press conference, stating that it was his idea to bring Pako Ayestaran to the club. “I spoke to the president as far back as Christmas before the sporting director was appointed,” said the 41-year-old.

“I understand it might look like there’s something going on. There absolutely isn’t. I’m the head coach of Valencia, I will be the head coach of Valencia for the rest of this season. If I leave, Pako will leave. He’s come to be part of my coaching staff.”

Pako Ayestaran is no stranger to La Liga title glory

Valencia’s newest coaching appointee has previously worked as an assistant to Rafael Benitez at Valencia, where they won the La Liga title in 2001-02 and 2003-04.

Ayestaran has assisted Benitez since his days at Osasuna and only parted ways with him in 2007 while the Spaniard was in charge of Liverpool. At Liverpool, they won the Champions League trophy in 2005-06.

Given his strong track record in assisting such a successful manager in major victories, it is a no-brainer that Gary Neville has chosen to appoint Pako Ayestaran to join his coaching team.

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