Valencia re-hire sporting director

MADRID • Stuttering Valencia have made a second key appointment in as many months, by bringing back Jesus Garcia Pitarch as sporting director to work with new coach Gary Neville.

Garcia Pitarch, 52, played for the La Liga club between 1982 and 1985. He was sporting director between 2002 and 2004, when Valencia won the La Liga title and the Uefa Cup under Rafa Benitez.

He was sporting director when Atletico won the Europa League and the European Super Cup in 2010, and has also worked at Hercules and Real Zaragoza in Spain and United Arab Emirates club Baniyas.

The ambitious club are struggling in La Liga but still alive in both the Europa League and the King's Cup.

"Gary Neville is our coach and we have to get behind him and the players," Garcia Pitarch told a news conference on Wednesday. "It's not the time to be talking about whether he will carry on (after this season)."

Neville, a business partner of Valencia's Singaporean owner Peter Lim, has a contract until the end of the season.

Valencia, who have not had a sporting director since Francisco Rufete left last year, were beaten 2-0 at Real Sociedad in La Liga on Sunday. They have yet to enjoy a league win under Neville in five attempts and are 11th at the halfway stage of the campaign.

"I don't shy away from what Valencia's expectations should be," Neville said. "We've not achieved the results we wanted to and I accept that we have to start winning games quickly."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2016, with the headline 'Valencia re-hire sporting director'. Print Edition | Subscribe