Valencia - Gary Neville will be handed a baptism of fire as
Valencia boss when the Spanish side host Lyon in the Champions League on
Wednesday hoping to seal their place in the last 16.
The match will be Neville's first as a head coach after he
was surprisingly hired by business partner and Valencia owner Peter Lim until
the end of the season despite his lack of managerial experience.
To reach the knockout stages for the first time in three
years, Valencia need to win and hope that Belgian champions Gent don't beat the
already qualified Zenit St Petersburg.
"I've only known one way in football which is to expect
to win every match," said Neville on his unveiling at the Mestalla.
"You can't always do that but that is what you should
expect, it's what I expect and what a club of this size expects and the fans
"Everything that I do, I do with the aspirations to do
the absolute best, it's the way I've approached everything I've done and this
will be no different.
"Valencia will get every ounce of enthusiasm I can
give. Hopefully that can lead to success. I'm aware of the expectation and I
know that if I fall below it I won't be here."
Also read: Neville opens doors to Valencia fans on first day
Neville watched on from the stands as Valencia salvaged a
point against European champions Barcelona on Saturday in front of a vociferous
home support thanks to Santi Mina's late equaliser.
Gary's brother Phil Neville was part of the caretaker
coaching staff against Barca and will continue as assistant having joined the
club under Neville's predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo at the start of the
On top of the confidence gained for taking a point from
Barcelona, morale amongst the Valencia camp should be boosted by the return of
a number of key players.
Former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo could return
for the first time since early October after he was discarded by Nuno after a
fall-out between the two before undergoing surgery for appendicitis last month.
Shkodran Mustafi and Javi Fuego are also expected to return
from injury, whilst right-back Joao Cancelo returns from suspension.
Neville admitted the Valencia fans are right to have
misgivings about the appointment of a coach with no previous experience and who
doesn't speak Spanish, but he has already tried to win them over by opening his
first full training session to the supporters.
And he could hardly have picked a better opponent to face in
his first outing than a Lyon side in crisis having failed to win any of their
last five matches.
The latest embarrassment for Hubert Fournier's men came with
a 2-0 defeat at home to Angers in the last ever league game at the Stade
Gerland on Saturday.
Lyon are already eliminated from all European competitions
after taking just one point from their opening five group games.
Moreover, the French side are hampered by injuries to
several key players.
Nabil Fekir, Gueida Fofana, Aldo Kalulu and Christophe
Jallet are all long-term absentees, whilst Jordan Ferri is suspended.For
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