Football: Valencia fall again but fans optimistic after club confirm signing of Cesare Prandelli as new coach

Valencia's incoming coach Cesare Prandelli at the La Liga match against Atletico Madrid. The Italian led his nation to the final of Euro 2012.
Valencia's incoming coach Cesare Prandelli at the La Liga match against Atletico Madrid. The Italian led his nation to the final of Euro 2012.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE

MADRID • An air of optimism permeated the Mestalla Stadium yesterday even though Valencia eventually fell 0-2 to Atletico Madrid in a Spanish Primera Liga match.

It was the club's fifth defeat in seven games, but Saturday's confirmation that former Italy coach Cesare Prandelli would now take the reins left fans believing that Los Che can turn the tide.

He watched as Antoine Griezmann scored in the 63rd minute yesterday and Kevin Gameiro secured the victory three minutes into stoppage time.

Prandelli, who was given a two-year deal, is Valencia's fourth coach in a year.

The Straits Times had revealed his signing on Friday night (local time), with the Italian photographed at Forum The Shopping Mall along Orchard Road where he had had dinner with the club's Singaporean owner Peter Lim.

Prandelli has been unemployed since leaving Turkish giants Galatasaray after just four months in charge in 2014.

The 59-year-old led Italy to the Euro 2012 final, eventually losing 0-4 to Spain, but resigned after failing to make it out of the group stage at the 2014 World Cup.

Valencia will have their work cut out but hope that they have finally found a solution in Prandelli.

Pako Ayestaran was dismissed last month after Los Che lost their first four league games of the season.

Nuno Espirito Santo resigned last November despite leading Valencia back into the Champions League in his only full season in charge.

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville then endured a nightmare four-month reign before he was sacked in March, paving the way for Ayestaran's appointment.

However, a lack of European football and the club's heavy debts mean Prandelli will have a depleted squad to work with.

A host of Valencia's best players including captain Paco Alcacer, Andre Gomes and Shkodran Mustafi were sold in the summer transfer window to recoup over €100 million (S$153.2 million).

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2016, with the headline 'Valencia fall again, but fans optimistic'. Print Edition | Subscribe