Threat of relegation looms over Valencia
Valencia’s players were straight back to work on Sunday in a bid to correct the mistakes that led them to a fourth consecutive defeat in Las Palmas.
With Valencia sliding closer and closer to the relegation zone, the club’s management could not afford the risk of sticking with Gary Neville until the end of the season. The Englishman was replaced by Pako Ayestarán last week, but Los Che fell to yet another defeat in Las Palmas on Saturday.
Despite an early goal, Valencia conceded twice in the second half to fall to their fourth defeat in a row and extend their run without a league clean sheet to 21 matches.
The defeat puts them just six points clear of the drop, yet that could fall to five points if Sporting Gijón defeat Levante this evening. Even more troubling for Valencia is that, of the teams below them in the table, they only boast a better head-to-head record against Levante and Granada, while they have yet to play Getafe for a second time after their 2-2 draw at the Mestalla in December.
The fixture list doesn’t inspire much optimism either. Trips to the Camp Nou (week 33) and the Bernabéu (week 37) remain, while Sevilla and Villarreal’s battle for the Champions League will pass by the Mestalla before the season’s end. Villarreal visit in the third last week of the season, while Sevilla make the trip to Valencia this Sunday.
Ayestarán has already taken steps to keep last season’s fourth-placed team from a first relegation in 30 years. The Basque coach had his starters in for an intense training session yesterday, where the players worked to correct the errors of the day before, something that Ayestarán used to have Valencia’s players do when he was assistant to Rafa Benítez between 2001 and 2004.
The players are not going to speak to the Press this week, with preparation for the visit of Sevilla the priority, but Rubén Vezo had his own message for the media as he stuck the middle finger up at the media on his way into the emergency training session at Paterna.
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