Gary Neville claimed it was “dangerous to think about turning points” after Valencia’s thumping win over Rapid Vienna and vowed not to celebrate.
Under-fire Neville earned some much-needed breathing space as his side thrashed Rapid Vienna 6-0 in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie at the Mestalla.
It made for a perfect 41st birthday for Neville, coming after his side claimed their long-awaited first La Liga win under his charge against Espanyol last weekend.
Neville told reporters: “Obviously the result makes it my best night in Valencia.
“But I’ve never celebrated victories halfway through the season and this will not be the first time.”
Neville did not taste victory in any of his first 12 matches in the Primera Division and has been facing calls for his sacking from fans and media.
He hopes the corner has now been turned in terms of results – although he insists the team has been playing well for some time.
The former England and Manchester United defender said: “I hope to start a positive run but it is dangerous to start thinking about turning points.
“I never thought I needed a result to see a turning point – sometimes we cannot explain how we have not got wins.
“The squad is stronger, more confident. I’m very happy about tonight but now I’m focused on Granada.”
Most of the damage was done in the first half as Valencia raced into a 5-0 lead. The outstanding Santi Mina struck twice and set up another three. Daniel Parejo, Alvaro Negredo, Andre Gomes and Rodrigo were the other players on the scoresheet.
For Rapid coach Zoran Barisic the match was a humbling experience. His side are joint top of the Austrian Bundesliga but their Spanish opponents proved a class above.
Barisic told reporters: “It is the worst defeat of my career. They were much better. We lacked a lot and could not keep up with Valencia.
“We cannot play at this level. Our defence did not do well but in the second half the team was better.
“This defeat is something that will hurt for a long time. Until today we had had a good Europa League.
“But Valencia showed a lot of class. I think we can assume we are eliminated but we will still try to win in Vienna.”