Gary Neville’s first foray into club management is over after Valencia announced they had sacked the former England defender.
The 41-year-old, who is also a coach in Roy Hodgson’s England set-up, was a surprise replacement for Nuno Espirito Santo in December, and he struggled to make an impression at the Mestalla.
With Valencia languishing in 14th place in the Primera Division table, Los Che on Wednesday announced Neville had been relieved of his duties as first-team coach, with former Liverpool assistant Pako Ayestaran taking the reins until the end of the season.
A statement published on valenciacf.com read: “Valencia have today terminated the contractual relationship with first-team coach Gary Neville.
“After carefully analysing the situation, the club have decided to make this change in the best interests of Valencia when looking toward the rest of the season.
“The club thank Gary Neville for his work and wish him the best of luck for the future.”
The long-serving Manchester United right-back, just returned from England’s double-header against Germany and Holland, reciprocated Valencia’s thanks with a short message on the Spanish side’s website.
“I want to thank Valencia, the fans, the coaching staff and players,” he said.
“I would have liked to continue the work I started, but I understand that we are in business based on results and in 28 games we have seen 10 wins, seven draws and 11 defeats, which is not the level demanded by me or by this club.”
Neville, who in addition to his work with England had been providing TV punditry for Sky Sports following his retirement as a player in 2011, delayed joining up with England in Germany last week as he attempted to cling on to his job with Valencia, who last won the Primera Division under Rafael Benitez in 2004.
Fans had been calling for the Englishman’s head after a 2-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo represented a third successive league loss.
Speaking to the press after the Celta game, he pledged his commitment to Valencia, who hired him on December 2.
“The last thing I want levelled at me when I leave here is that is Gary Neville lacks commitment, because it’s not something that’s ever been said about me in my life,” he said. “I have come to love this club and city, I want to give my all to the club, they deserve nothing less.”
The development is not understood to have come as a complete surprise to Neville, who showed little sign of it impacting him during the England meet-up.
The coach is said to have been his ebullient self and will now be able spend more time helping Hodgson’s men prepare for Euro 2016.
His career in the east-coast city, where brother Phil was already working as a coach, began with a Champions League loss to Lyon at the Mestalla and it was not until February 13 that Los Che clinched their first of only three league wins under Neville.
Ten days earlier Valencia were thrashed 7-0 by Barcelona in the Copa del Rey and they have subsequently slipped out of the Europa League courtesy of domestic rivals Athletic Bilbao.
His temporary successor Ayestaran, brought to Anfield by Benitez for a three-year spell in 2004, will take Els Taronges to Las Palmas on Sunday, in the first of eight games that could prove to be an extended audition for the permanent role.
Reports in Spain suggest Valencia – owned by Singaporean Peter Lim – are also considering an approach for Middlesbrough’s Spanish boss Aitor Karanka.