On Saturday night, Gary Neville grabbed his first La Liga win as Valencia manager. His side came from 1-0 down to win 2-1 against out of form Espanyol.
Prior to this vital victory, the former United right back had been struggling to come to terms with management. After he had failed to win in his first 9 league games, seeing his side tumble down the table, from being Champions League contenders to a side battling to avoid relegation.
Gary Neville was delighted with the victory and he will feel it is a weight off his shoulders. After the game, the manager gave his thoughts on the game:
During his footballing career, Neville was not popular amongst rival supporters due to his antics on the field. Therefore, many were disillusioned when he was given a job as a pundit for Sky Sports.
Although, he soon proved his doubters wrong. He quickly progressed into a well respected pundit who was regarded to be one of the best in the business. This was down to his vast knowledge about the game and how insightful his beliefs were.
Himself and Jamie Carragher turned Monday night football into a must watch every week. Not for the football game, but for their thoughts on the weekends events in the top flight.
Jamie Carragher gave his own reaction to Gary’s first league win as manager, in typical Monday night football fashion:
After his excellent career as a pundit, many onlookers believed that Gary would become a great manager and that he would adapt to management easily, like he had done going from a player to a pundit.
He possibly underestimated how difficult the Valencia job would be. Neville deserves admiration that he took the risk to take over as Valencia manager. He could have chosen a much easier opportunity as his first job, to create a platform to which he could build on.
The manager jumped into the deep end by taking this job. There were so many things that could go wrong, which would have meant he would be scrutinized by the media and the demanding Valencia fans.
During his reign so far, Neville has received a backlash from the Valencia supporters.
But in their last game, when Valencia went 1-0 down, their supporters continued to back their side. This would have given a boost of confidence to the players, who went onto come back from the brink of defeat, to grab a much needed 2-1 victory.
I am personally delighted for Neville, I am sure I speak for the majority of English football fans that we wish him the best.
It will be good for Neville if he can manage to kick on from this win and to end the season well, which would give him confidence going into his next managerial job or into next season if he continues as Valencia manager.
It would be a great achievement if he overcame his awful start as a manager, to move up the table in the final few months of the season.
This would indicate a good start to his managerial career as he would show that he has the mental toughness and ability to turn around his clubs fortunes after a series of bad results.
Even at this early stage of his career, you can see signs that he is of similar ilk to his manager at United, Sir Alex Ferguson.
He is clearly very demanding of his players, in a similar nature to Sir Alex. Also, a characteristic which Neville would have kept from his United days will be the desire to win, which was driven into the squad during the highly successful days of Ferguson’s reign.
Therefore, his first win in the league against Espanyol would not have been enjoyed by anyone more than Gary Neville himself.
It is good to see a young English coach, who is not afraid of plying his trade abroad. It shows Neville has a large amount of self confidence in his abilities as a manager.
Hopefully Valencia can end the season well, so he will have a number of positives to take out of his first full time managerial experience.