Valencia assistant my idea

Phil and Gary Neville

Pako Ayestaran joins Gary Neville’s brother Phil on his coaching staff

Valencia boss Gary Neville insists it was his decision to name Pako Ayestaran as his assistant.

Neville confirmed the appointment of the 53-year-old, who was Rafael Benitez’s assistant at Valencia and Liverpool, after his first La Liga win – against Espanyol on Saturday.

Neville said: “I can be absolutely 100% clear that it was my suggestion and my appointment and no-one else’s.

“I spoke to [ex-Liverpool player] Jamie Carragher two weeks ago about Pako.”

Valencia named Jesus Garcia Pitarch as sporting director in January, but Neville says that decision was not his.

“I spoke to the president as far back as Christmas before the sporting director was appointed,” he said.

“I’m the head coach of Valencia, I will be the head coach of Valencia for the rest of this season. If I leave, Pako will leave. He’s come to be part of my coaching staff.

“I understand it might look like there’s something going on. There absolutely isn’t. After about 10 or 14 days, I recognised I needed to strengthen the coaching set-up. I feel more comfortable already.”

Neville was speaking before Valencia’s Europa League last-32 first-leg tie with Rapid Vienna on Thursday.

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