Gary Neville has stressed that he would like to remain at Valencia beyond the end of the season despite saying he does not see his long-term future in management.
Neville said in an interview with Sky Sports that succeeding as a manager is not his “ultimate goal”, hinting that he could give up coaching at the end of the season.
“I’m not going to say where I want to end up, and it isn’t in management or head coaching, so I want to be clear about that,” Neville said.
“That’s not my ultimate goal of where I want to be. From my point of view, I was really enjoying what I was doing, I really was, the multiple things I had on, even though I knew it was coming to a point where I had to make decisions at the end of this season.
“This (the Valencia job) came at the right time, because it has allowed me to think: ‘OK, four, five years out of football, I’ve experienced a lot in the different facets of football.’
Speaking after Valencia’s 2-2 draw with Real Madrid on Sunday evening, Neville performed something of a U-turn, insisting he was not in fact suggesting he was already thinking of ending his managerial career.
“I was talking about 15 to 20 years’ time when I talked about [quitting] management,” Neville said. “I absolutely hope I’m here beyond six months but I need to prove myself.
Neville is yet to win a league game in charge of Valencia, but he took heart from the draw against Madrid, saying: “That was a small step tonight. This wasn’t me proving myself but it was a small step and some of the things I saw tonight were of a really high level.
“After 15 difficult minutes, we started doing well and we gave them a lot of problems.
“We played too slowly against 10, we relaxed a bit, but we played a good game. It was a fantastic performance. What I care about is whether we will be able play well.”
Benitez on his Real Madrid future
Rafael Benitez, meanwhile, brushed aside speculation over his future after the draw against his former club.
Benitez’s side twice led at the Mestalla but were pegged back both times and also had Mateo Kovacic sent off in an eventful Primera Division clash.
Asked about his position, Benitez tried to turn focus to the positive aspects of his side’s performance.
Benitez told reporters: “You are free to ask that question, but not well focused. For the effort we deserve more praise than anything else.
“I cannot prevent speculation about whether I continue, but I can make the team work as it has today. We were capable of getting the three points.”
Benitez felt his side deserved credit for going ahead after Kovacic’s dismissal, although Gareth Bale’s 82nd-minute header was quickly cancelled out by Paco Alcacer. Real had also led in the first half through Karim Benzema but Daniel Parejo levelled from the penalty spot.
He said: “With 10 players we had to make an effort and the team has done. We can only regret that after going 2-1 ahead, we conceded in the next minute.”