VALENCIA - Chan Lay Hoon, president of the struggling La Liga club Valencia, has come out to defend club owner Peter Lim, in the wake of the sacking of manager Gary Neville after just four months on the job.
Neville was sacked on Wednesday after a dismal run of results which saw the club winning just three of 16 La Liga games. They are now just six points above the relegation zone, with a tough final eight games of the season to come.
Valencia fans have voiced their unhappiness with Chan, Lim and Neville for the faltering fortunes of the club this season. They even burned effigies of the trio.
Valencia's official club website reported that, amid a packed media centre on Thursday, Chan confirmed the appointment of Pako Ayestaran as head coach until the end of the season.
She added: "Over the past few months, I have noticed there is a different understanding or perception of how (fans) see a foreign investor.
"Peter has many companies and investments all over the world, and Valencia CF is one of his investments. It is not the biggest, but it is currently the most important.
"Because of his personal commitments, he may not be able to be here all the time. But that does not mean that Peter is not committed to Valencia, that he does not care about Valencia, and does not know what is going on."
Chan also urged everyone at the club to stick together in this current tough situation.
She said: "We are going through a difficult time and we are all suffering, but it is important for me to tell you all that we should remember that we are a strong club. We have never been so strong in our history.
"We will not take this bad moment for the club lightly, the team have to give the highest level of commitment along with those of us who love Valencia.
"This season is not over, we will fight in every game until the end and we need the unity of everyone. The team must assume the highest level of responsibility along with us to get the results that the fans need."