Neville slams ‘unacceptable’ Valencia performance

Gary Neville labelled his side's performance as 'indefensible' and questioned his players commitment after his side lost 1-0 to Levante.

Neville slams ‘unacceptable’ Valencia performance

Valencia coach Gary Neville labelled his side's performance as 'indefensible' and questioned his players commitment after a 1-0 defeat to regional rivals Levante, the side who occupy bottom place in the league, on Sunday.

“I'm not defending that. I've got to look at myself first and foremost”, said Neville. “I take responsibility for the defeat, but that was an indefensible performance, unacceptable and not good enough. I apologise to the fans of Valencia because the very basic premise of a football match is that you run, fight and tackle as hard as the opposition.”

Neville has now won just three of 15 LaLiga games in charge to leave Valencia rooted in mid-table in 12th with nine games remaining. Valencia's last hope of glory this season hinges upon overturning a 1-0 first-leg deficit at home to Athletic Club in the Europa League on Thursday. However, Neville insisted playing a derby sandwiched between the two games against the Basques was no excuse for his side's half-hearted display.

“If we have concentrated on the Europa League subconsciously in some way then it is a massive mistake because that defeat today in a local derby is nowhere near good enough,” he added. “It is unacceptable in this city for us to play like that in a game of such importance to the people, against your local rivals that are at the bottom of the league, who fought for every single ball, and we weren't good enough.”

Neville also insisted before the game that he will fulfil his duties as an England coach during a 10-day international break later this month. That decision is likely to come under further scrutiny in the coming week, but he insisted the Valencia fans would see a different side against Athletic on Thursday. “The very least you will get on Thursday will be a Valencia team running around like crazy and fighting for every single ball.”

Valencia captain Paco Alcácer also criticised the team's lack of commitment. “We were on the pitch, but we didn't play football. The performance hurts more than the result because it is unacceptable for Valencia to offer up that display. The one thing you can't lack in a team is attitude and this team didn't have it. Maybe we aren't as good as we think and we have to concentrate on working harder”, he said.