Neville won't quit but is set to leave at the end of season

LONDON • Gary Neville insisted he would not resign after Sunday's 2-0 defeat by Celta Vigo prompted chants from Valencia fans for him to leave, but his time at Mestalla will not now extend beyond the end of the season unless there is an unexpected turnaround.

A meeting with the Spanish football club's owners has been pencilled in for next month, but both parties are aware that there are few reasons for the English manager's five-month deal to be extended.

It is not just a case of Valencia's willingness to offer Neville a new deal but also that the former Manchester United full-back, aware that results mean he has not earned it, will not demand one.

Neville's relationship with the club is fluid, with regular communication between the coach and the club's president, Chan Lay Hoon, and owner, Peter Lim.

Lim is Neville's friend and business partner and their mutual respect means there is a willingness to find the best solution by everybody.

On Sunday evening, fans at the Mestalla chanted "Gary, vete ya!" (Gary, go now!) in significant numbers for the first time.

Valencia have won only three of 16 league games under him and are in 14th place, six points off the relegation zone.

The fans' fury was increased by Neville's decision to substitute forwards Rodrigo and Paco Alcacer.

"Gary, vete ya" was splashed across the front page of the local sports newspaper Super Deporte.

After the game, Neville said he would not be joining up with the England national team, whose assistant manager he is, on Monday as initially planned and as stipulated in his contract.

Instead, aware that his departure amid the crisis of results is a sensitive subject, he will wait until tomorrow.

But Neville's decision did little to change the situation in Valencia. It may even have made things worse.

The Valencia reporter for Onda Cero radio called it a "lack of respect", while in AS it was described sarcastically as "English humour".

After the club's Europa League exit last week, a poll in one local paper asked what Valencia needed to do next.

As the early results came in, none had gone for "sack the manager", while 67 per cent voted for "begin a revolution in the squad".

But judging by the mood at the Mestalla on Sunday, opinion is shifting against Neville.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2016, with the headline 'Neville won't quit but is set to leave at the end of season'. Print Edition | Subscribe