‘Revenge’ not the motive for Valencia boss Neville

Date published: Wednesday 9th March 2016 9:48

Gary Neville: Slammed by former Valencia chief

Gary Neville insists Valencia are not after revenge when they visit domestic rivals Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday.

Los Che last month lost 3-0 at home to Bilbao and last October, under previous manager Nuno Espirito Santo, they were defeated 3-1 at the San Mames.

Valencia appear to be improving, however, and Neville revealed he is expecting a different outcome this time around and that the defeat last month did not fairly reflect that game.

“I wouldn’t say we want revenge, each game is different and this is over two legs,” said Neville, who must also prepare his team for Sunday’s local derby at Levante.

“The game at Mestalla was very tight, we could have won it 2-0. Athletic played well but not to win 3-0.

“People focus a lot on that game, but this will be different. There will be a good atmosphere, but we must be positive, have confidence and give everything.

“For us the Europa League is the most important as it is the next game.

“With games every three or four days, we have been playing well lately. This is the type of game you want as a player and as a coach. We want to return with a good result, to show confidence and play well for the full game,” Neville added in quotes published by espnfc.co.uk.

The Englishman is, however, without Enzo Perez, owing to the midfielder’s muscle problems, and winger Denis Cheryshev, who sustained a thigh injury during the weekend’s 3-1 defeat at home by Atletico Madrid in which he scored Valencia’s only goal. The Russian is expected to miss the coming month due to the problem.

With seven goals, Aritz Aduriz is the top scorer in the Europa League so far this season, but he remains a doubt having suffered a knock. Head coach Ernesto Valverde is also without Ibai Gomez (foot) and Inaki Williams (ankle).

Bilbao’s progress this season has strengthened Valverde’s reputation, but despite speculation linking him with vacancies elsewhere, club president Josu Urrutia has spoken of his desire to extend his contract.

“For a coach to know a club like Athletic wants him to continue is a source of satisfaction and joy, and for us as well,” he said. “I understand Athletic have to care for their coaches and be in the day-to-day with them.”

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