Neville asks fans for patience as Valencia's winless run continues

Valencia striker Paco Alcacer (left) fighting for the ball with Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez during their La Liga match. Gary Neville's side lost 0-2, leaving him still seeking a win in the league.
Valencia striker Paco Alcacer (left) fighting for the ball with Real Sociedad defender Inigo Martinez during their La Liga match. Gary Neville's side lost 0-2, leaving him still seeking a win in the league.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MADRID • Valencia coach Gary Neville has asked the fans for patience after watching his side stumble to a 2-0 reverse at Real Sociedad in La Liga on Sunday. The result left him still winless in Spain's top flight.

Appointed last month to replace Nuno Espirito Santo, the former Manchester United and England defender has presided over three draws and two defeats in La Liga, as well as seeing Valencia eliminated from the Champions League after a 0-2 loss to Lyon.

They are mired in 11th place in La Liga at the halfway stage of the campaign, well short of the European qualification places that the ambitious Singapore-owned club expect to be challenging for.

Neville told a news conference that he wanted the Valencia fans to understand what the team were trying to do and continue supporting the players while admitting they had squandered possession to the Basque club far too often.

A late Jonathas double secured victory for Sociedad with Valencia's best moment coming in the first half when a Rodrigo Moreno effort hit the crossbar.

"Everyone in the dressing room is disappointed, myself more than anyone, but tomorrow everything starts again," Neville said.

"I can't sit here without saying it's not a blow.

"We lost against Villarreal (last month) but I was happy with our second-half performance. Today, I can't say that. We played below expectations and we have to start winning regularly."

Neville reiterated that bringing in reinforcements in the January transfer window was not necessarily the answer.

"I want to play with these players so they can improve together," he said. "It's not that the club doesn't want to spend money. There have been some important signings and my job is to get the players to perform.

"I believe I have some excellent players and I assume responsibility for the defeat."

Valencia play the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie against Rapid Vienna next month and are well-placed to reach the quarter-finals of the King's Cup.

Their next outing in La Liga is at home to struggling Rayo Vallecano.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2016, with the headline 'Neville asks fans for patience as Valencia's winless run continues'. Print Edition | Subscribe