Valencia’s Singaporean owner Peter Lim has spoken about Gary Neville’s departure as coach last month, saying the decision was “mutually and amicably agreed between both sides”.
Originally appointed on December 2, Neville was sacked just four months after arriving at the Mestalla, after presiding over a dismal spell which saw the club pick up just three wins and saw them languishing in 14th place in La Liga.
Valencia were also knocked out of the Champions League, were eliminated from the Europa League by Athletic Bilbao, and were hammered 7-0 by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semi-final – a game described by the sporting director, Suso García Pitarch, as “one of the worst in our history”.
Talking via a spokesman to The Straits Times, Lim, who has close business links with Neville and several other members of Manchester United’s ‘Class of ’92’, said the decision had been mutually agreed.
“This decision was carefully considered and made with the best interests of the club moving forward,” the spokesman said.
“Gary had also endorsed the appointment of his assistant manager Pako Ayestaran as his replacement. The timing was agreed beforehand with Gary to take place after the international break so as to minimise disruption to the Valencia team.
“Mr Peter Lim was fully involved in all key aspects of the decision and was not, as some reports have portrayed, away in Bali on holiday throughout the process. On the day of the announcement, Mr Lim was away in Bali on a business trip and not for a holiday.”
After his exit, Neville released a statement saying: “I would like to thank Valencia Football club, the fans, staff and the players.
“I would have liked to have continued the work I started but understand that we are in a results business and in the 28 games (10 wins, seven draws and 11 losses) they have not been to my standards or to those which are required by this club.”