Neville uncertain on future; ‘did not insult ref’

Date published: Friday 18th March 2016 9:06

Gary Neville admits he is uncertain on where his future lies after Valencia were knocked out of the Europa League.

Valencia beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 on Thursday evening, but were knocked out on away goals after Aritz Aduriz’s late strike.

Neville was sent to the stands during the game, and admitted that he is unsure whether he will stay on as manager beyond his current five-month deal.

“I’m only thinking about the nine games. That’s all I want to think about. That’s all I should think about,” he said. “I was hired for five months. That has always been the agreement.”

“I’m not closing the door but we all know the contract that I was given. I will make sure that I give everything. I have come to love this club and to love the city. I have never seen such passionate fans; they are a proud bunch and I just imagine what they would be like if the results were better.

“You do need a bit of luck in football. I can think of many matches we’ve played where if we’d have taken the chances we would have won.

“I can always look at that but from my point of view I knew I was here for five months. No manager comes to a club in a good moment, usually it’s at a difficult moment. Results not what they should be for this club and that’s something I’m very aware of. I’ve seen the best performance since I’ve been here in this game.

“The players have taken it upon themselves to respond and we have to do the fans proud in the nine games left. We had words on Sunday after the defeat (1-0 to bottom club Levante) but there is a respect between us.”

Neville was sent to the stands with 10 minutes remaining at the Mestalla, but the England coach insisted he did not swear at referee Daniele Orsato, but was reprimanded instead for remonstrating on the sidelines.

“We could have won by four or five,” he said of the defeat. “I was annoyed that Andre Gomes got a yellow card five minutes earlier when the ball hit him from two yards away and then a ball hits one of their players’ arm from 20 yards away and nothing is given. It was not the worst decision ever but the incident with Andre Gomes was 30 seconds before. I was astounded.

“I thought it was a bad decision. I think when the referee watches that he will be disappointed. The linesman had a clear view of it. But the fans can go home happy with the way the team played. We should have won.

“We have set a minimum standard with this performance. The players have to repeat that now.”

Elsewhere, Europa League holders Sevilla coasted into the quarter-finals with a 3-0 win over Basel at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

The Spanish side, who had left Switzerland with a goalless draw in the first leg, swept into a 35th-minute lead through a header by defender Adil Rami.

Kevin Gameiro tapped in a second two minutes before the break and quickly made Basle pay for more lax defending when scoring at third goal for the hosts just before half-time which ended the tie as a contest.

Braga turned the tables on eight-man Fenerbahce with a 4-1 victory.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Braga faced an uphill task when Alper Potuk cancelled out Ahmed Hassan’s opener just before half-time.

But the 67th-minute dismissal of Mehmet Topal proved to be the turning point.

Josue netted the 69th-minute penalty and five minutes later Nikola Stojiljkovic put the Portuguese side ahead in the tie for the first time and Rafa Silva added a fine fourth goal.

There was still time for Fenebahce to implode as Potuk and Volkan Sen also both saw red.

Eduardo’s stoppage-time goal earned Shakhtar Donetsk a 1-0 second-leg win to round off a comfortable progression past Anderlecht, 4-1 on aggregate.

Both sides finished with 10 men as Kucher for Shakhtar and Kara Mbodji for Anderlecht were sent off within two minutes of each other as tempers flared in the closing stages.

In Thursday’s early evening kick-offs, Sparta Prague produced a brilliant first-half performance to thrash Lazio 3-0 to book their place in the last eight and went through 4-1 winners on aggregate.

Villarreal also reached the last eight after a goalless draw at Bayer Leverkusen secured a 2-0 win on aggregate.

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