Gary Neville sits during his official presentation as Valencia’s new coach at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia yesterday. (AFP)
New Valencia coach Gary Neville has said that the challenge of managing the La Liga side was so enticing that he could not afford to turn it down.
The former Manchester United and England player was announced on Wednesday as Valencia’s surprise new boss until the end of the season, following the resignation of Nuno Espirito Santo two days before.
“I have been offered many jobs in football over the last four or five years but the timing has not been right,” Neville told a news conference in Valencia on Thursday.
“When I received the call on Sunday evening about this job I thought ‘what an opportunity, what a challenge’. I thought it was the time to stand up and I would lose respect if I turned down this job with a great club and huge history.
“(Learning) Spanish will be a big challenge. I will take classes every day but I have a small problem as I will need to get hold of a Spanish teacher who will be prepared to get up at 6AM every day.”
Valencia are ninth in La Liga with 19 points from 13 games. Interim coach Salvador Gonzalez, with Gary’s brother Phil Neville as his assistant, will oversee Saturday’s clash against league leaders Barcelona.
Expectations are high at Valencia on the back of substantial investment from their Singaporean billionaire owner Peter Lim and one of Neville’s first tasks will be to win over the club’s notoriously demanding fans.
“I am aware of the tradition of Valencia and how they play... and I will work now to appraise the players that I have here,” said Neville.
“I will pick the best side to suit the situation without having any pre-season or friendlies. I will pick the best 11 to win games, which is the most important thing independent of style at the moment.” Neville will take over first-team duties on Sunday ahead of their Champions League game against Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday.
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