MADRID • Trust a former Manchester City striker to deliver for a former Manchester United defender.
Alvaro Negredo bagged his first hat-trick for Valencia in a 4-0 Copa del Rey rout of Granada on Wednesday and then hailed Gary Neville's arrival as a turning point for the club's strike force.
The victory was just Neville's second in seven games in charge since being surprisingly handed his first managerial role by the Spanish side last month.
However, the former United captain has brought Negredo back into the fold after he was sidelined by Neville's predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo.
Neville's arrival has also coincided with an upturn in form for the club's other strikers Paco Alcacer, Santi Mina and Rodrigo.
Negredo missed a huge chance to seal a famous win over Real Madrid in the dying seconds of Sunday's pulsating 2-2 draw. But he showed no ill effects on Wednesday to open the scoring early on, robbing the ball off Diego Mainz and stroking it into the corner past 'keeper Ivan Kelava.
His second and third goals came from penalty kicks.
"I hope every week I get to miss a clear chance and in the next game scoring a hat-trick," said the former City hit-man. "This one is so special because it's the first one with Valencia. With Gary Neville's arrival everything has changed."
Neville, still without a win in four La Liga matches in charge, insisted the goals for all of his front men were just a fruit of their labour since he took charge.
"Today you've seen Alvaro's confidence and his belief," said the former defender. "I'm really happy with all four of them, they're all doing the right things, they're all working hard. If you prepare well for football matches, you work hard, then your luck comes."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS