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Neville desperate to win over fans
09 Feb 2016 16:04
Troubled Valencia manager Gary Neville is "unbreakable" in his determination to win over the club's fans.
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The former Manchester United and England defender is facing calls for his sacking after a dismal first two months as manager at the Mestalla.
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Neville has not won any of his first nine La Liga games and the the team have slumped to 14th in the Primera Division table, just four points above the relegation zone.
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Speaking at a press conference to preview Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Barcelona, the 40-year-old said: "The fans of this football club were here long before me and will be here long after me. It's in their heart, their soul, it's what they live for.
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"From my point of view, I want to give them what they want. I am determined, I am positive, I am unbreakable in that respect.
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"At this moment in time the results are obviously testing, they create moments where you want it to turn around so desperately for them (fans). That is all we have got to focus on - hard work, concentration and to win on Saturday in front of all those fans that will turn up."
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Valencia host Espanyol at the weekend in what Neville has described as a must-win game.
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Neville is focusing on that home league fixture rather than the midweek encounter against Barca because his team are effectively already out of that cup tie having been thrashed 7-0 in last week's disastrous first leg.
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Neville said: "Obviously to get the result and go through is near-on impossible.
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"I have always said I prioritise the next game but with the result in the first leg I have to prioritise Saturday - but not forget about tomorrow. I want a performance out of the players on the pitch. I want us to perform and show the fans in the stadium that we are desperate to turn this around."
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Neville added that 17-year-old midfielder Francisco Villalba would be in his squad while goalkeeper Diego Alves could be back in contention after more than eight months out with a serious knee injury.
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The pressure is completely off Barcelona as they look to formally confirm their place in the final but coach Luis Enrique does not want to ease up.
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Barca equalled a club record of 28 matches unbeaten with Sunday's victory at Levante and they have the incentive of establishing a new benchmark.
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Enrique said at a press conference: "It won't be an easy game, and it will be a bit strange after the result of the first leg.
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"But it's a good test for us, because it's the chance to show that we are still competitive in any situation. We need to forget about the first-leg result and go and play to win like we always do.
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"We have no idea what kind of Valencia we'll be up against."
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