Neville agreed to Ayestaran appointment

Pako Ayestaran

Pako Ayestaran was a former assistant under Rafael Benitez at Valencia and Liverpool

New Valencia coach Pako Ayestaran says he only accepted the job with predecessor Gary Neville’s blessing.

Neville was sacked by Valencia on Wednesday after less than four months following a run of 10 wins in 28 games.

The 41-year-old said it was his call to appoint former assistant Ayestaran in February, saying the Spaniard would also depart the club if he left.

But the 53-year-old said he was “grateful” for the chance to steer Valencia away from relegation trouble.

Ayestaran, who was formerly Rafael Benitez’s assistant at Valencia and Liverpool, said “When they offered me the role I had two conditions.

“The first was that Gary was in agreement, and if Gary hadn’t agreed I wouldn’t be here, because my values come above everything else.

“The second was that I come with my coaching team. The feeling I have at the moment is fantastic.”

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Ayestaran added of Neville, who is still assistant coach to England boss Roy Hodgson: “He did a huge amount of work and he gave everything for the club, but it wasn’t enough.”

Neville was sacked after winning three of his last 16 league games to leave Valencia six points above the relegation zone.

But his brother Phil, part of the coaching staff, has been retained.

Sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch added: “When we took the decision to replace Gary we invited Pako to come to Singapore and meet with [owner] Peter Lim to weigh up the situation and so that Pako could explain what he could do for the club.”

Garcia Pitarch said of Neville: “The results are not only down to him. I send Gary my best wishes and my respect. I’ve worked with a lot of coaches and he’s one of the best colleagues I’ve had.”

Valencia president Layhoon Chan added: “Pako has already spent several years at the club in the past, and we are excited because he has expressed his desire to lead the team.”

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