Valencia have sacked Gary Neville less than four months after he was appointed.

The club confirmed on Wednesday that the former Manchester United defender was leaving with immediate effect.

Neville was appointed in early December on a contract until the end of this season, but he has presided over a dismal run which has seen the side slide towards the relegation zone.

Valencia are 14th in La Liga, six points above the relegation zone, having won only three of 16 league matches under Neville. The club went out of the Champions League, Europa League and Copa del Rey during his brief spell as manager.

“Valencia Football Club have today parted company with Gary Neville as Head Coach,” the club said in a statement.

“After careful consideration, the Club have decided to make a change with the best interests of the Valencia CF moving forward this season. We thank Gary for his work at Valencia and wish him the best in the future. The Club have, today, appointed Pako Ayestaran as Head Coach until the end of the season.”

Neville has been under pressure almost from the off, with several commentators questioning the wisdom of appointing a non-Spanish speaking coach with no previous management experience to such a high profile post.

The club’s poor form has resulted in a hardening of anti-Neville sentiment among the Valencia faithful, with the most recent defeat, by Celta Vigo, prompting calls for the former Sky TV pundit to be relinquished of his duties.

Neville said he would not resign but delayed his departure to join the England coaching team for the friendlies against Germany and Holland.

The former Manchester United man was appointed by Valencia owner, Peter Lim, who is a friend and business partner of the former England international.

Neville had accepted that he would leave at the end of the season, but he had been expected to have been given until the end of the current campaign.