Neville blames substitution mistake on staff

Date published: Monday 7th March 2016 11:16

Gary Neville has described Valencia’s 3-1 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid as “the most disappointing” of his reign.

Neville has now won 14 points from 14 games as a manager in Spain, with his Valencia side battling valiantly against La Liga title contenders Atletico on Sunday.

Denis Cheryshev cancelled out Antoine Griezmann’s opener for the hosts, before Fernando Torres and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco helped Diego Simeone’s side to a crucial victory.

Speaking after the game, Neville described it as the “most disappointed” he’d been after a game. The 7-0 defeat to Barcelona must have been erased from his memory.

“I think the second half we played well, until the [Torres] goal going in changed the course of the game,” Neville said. “The moment went against us tonight and from there the game became difficult. For 25 minutes we played well and it was an even game. We’re playing against one of the best teams in Europe tonight by the way.

“For 70 minutes we gave them one of the hardest games they’ve had. The second goal and the sending off changed the game, that was my assessment of it. I’m disappointed, probably the most disappointed I’ve been after a game. I don’t like to repeat mistakes – like last week – and it feels the same. I felt we could have got something out of the game.”

Valencia were still in the game with ten minutes remaining, before defender Anderlan Santos was sent off with the score at 2-1. Neville subsequently brought on striker Alvaro Negredo as opposed to a replacement defender, and Neville switched formation to three at the back. Atletico scored a third less than a minute later.

Explaining the substitution, Neville said: “Alvaro was coming on, then Santos was sent off so I said to [Aymen, central defender] Abdennour, get changed you’re coming on,” Neville said. “My staff called me back, they said let’s gamble, go with three at the back. We decided to gamble and we changed our mind again.

“We decided with the coaching staff, it definitely wasn’t the fans. From my point of view, maybe sticking with the original decision might have been right.”

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