Neville: "I know I'm in a fight"

"It's not down to tactics, it's not down to the coach, it's down to the fans and the way they responded after the goal," the Valencia coach added.

Neville: "I know I'm in a fight"
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso Getty Images

Valencia boss Gary Neville is hopeful his first win in 10 La Liga games in charge of Los Che will be the confidence boost his young side needed to turn their season around.

The hosts came from behind to beat Espanyol 2-1 on Saturday thanks to goals in the final 20 minutes from Álvaro Negredo and Denis Cheryshev to ease Valencia's fears of being dragged into a relegation battle and the pressure on Neville's job.

"Hopefully we'll push on from this. That is what I want, what I hope for," said Neville.

"It's not a night for any celebration whatsover, not a night to get carried away. We need to gain some confidence from the result.

"There is a good feeling in the dressing room and we need to take that forward."

Neville has been severely criticised by some quarters of the Spanish media with many suggesting his friendship with Valencia's Singaporean owner Peter Lim as the only reason he hadn't been sacked before this weekend.

However, he thanked the club's famously demanding fans for sticking with the side after they fell behind for the 10th time in as many league games since he took over early in the second-half to Oscar Duarte's header.

"The most incredible bit was the fans stayed with us, every single player stayed with me," he added.

"It's not down to tactics, it's not down to the coach, it's down to the fans and the way they responded after the goal. We've had to come back so many times in league games: Getafe, Rayo, Madrid, Deportivo. It's not new for them to come back. They've showed spirit many times and tonight they showed it again."

Neville also announced that former Liverpool assistant manager Pako Ayestaran will join his coaching staff from next week.

And despite the relief of a first league win, Neville acknowledged he still has a long way to go to prove he is worthy of staying on at the Mestalla beyond the end of the season.

"The media and fans are well within their rights to say what they want, I'd be saying them as a journalist or as a fan.

"I'm not expecting to be shielded or protected, I thrive on it. From my point of view I know I'm in a fight."