Valencia have failed to reach the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey for the past four seasons. Perhaps that hex won’t be lifted this year, although things seemed even worse during Ronaldo Koeman’s spell in charge (2008) when, oddly enough, Los Che lifted the last of their seven Cup titles. That piece of silverware was the club’s last. Valencia cannot live off hope alone tonight; the onus is on them to get through. Leaving Gran Canaria without their name in the pot for the semi-final draw will be viewed as a failure by the Mestalla faithful. Another one to add to the list.
Gary Neville, who is 52 days into his managerial career, has so far failed to win over the skeptics who voiced their concerns when Peter Lim opened his Filofax to appoint him. To date his results have only reinforced the objections to his arrival. Neville cannot be blamed for Valencia’s underlining problems. He wasn’t there when the squad was assembled. Saying that though, no one was looking for him to perform miracles; his job was to keep things ticking along. I know the Englishman was hoping to extend his stay at Mestalla into next season. However, to make it that far his chummy relationship with the top brass won’t be enough; he’ll need to start overcoming the challenges that lie ahead. Or at least overcome one of them.