Gary Neville has been sacked as coach of Valencia after just over four months in charge, the struggling Spanish club confirmed on Wednesday.
“Valencia Football Club have today parted company with Gary Neville as Head Coach,” Valencia said in a statement published in English on their website.
“After careful consideration, the Club have decided to make a change with the best interests of the Valencia CF moving forward this season. We thank Gary for his work at Valencia and wish him the best in the future.”
Pako Ayestaran, previously an assistant coach at the Mestalla, has been appointed as Neville’s replacement until the end of the season, Valencia added.
Neville, who had been combining the job with his role as part of the England coaching team, leaves with Valencia languishing in 14th place in La Liga, six points clear of the relegation zone with eight games remaining.
The former Manchester United player, 41, oversaw just three wins in 16 league games in charge. His last game at the helm was a 2-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo just before the international break. He has spent the last week with the England squad for their friendly games in Germany and at home to the Netherlands and had been due to return to Spain to prepare for this weekend’s crucial game at in-form Las Palmas. Neville, whose brother Phil was already part of the backroom staff at the Mestalla when he took over in December, had faced strong criticism in Spain for carrying on his England duties and last week delayed meeting up with Roy Hodgson’s squad by several days in an effort to show his commitment to his club.
Six-time Spanish champions Valencia risk being dragged into the relegation battle with fixtures against Sevilla, Barcelona, Villarreal and Real Madrid still to come before the end of the season.