Madrid Coach Zinedine Zidane believes that, given time, Gary Neville will adapt to life in Spain and prove to be a success with current club Valencia.
Neville had no previous managerial experience and was working as a television pundit when, to the surprise of most, Los Che appointed him as successor to the sacked Nuno Espirito Santo in December. However, he has come in for criticism following a difficult start to life in Spain.
Valencia failed to record a single win in Neville’s first nine games, and the 7-0 Copa del Rey semi-final first leg hammering at the hands of Barcelona led for calls for him to be dismissed. But his 10th match in charge proved more successful, as Espanyol were defeated 2-1 at the Mestalla.
This lifted last season’s fourth-placed side to 12th in the table and seven points above the relegation zone, and a 6-0 thrashing of Rapid Vienna pretty much secures their last-16 place in the UEFA Europa League. And Zidane believes this is testament to Neville’s potential.
“Gary has played in every big occasion there is to play in, and under one of the greatest coaches [Sir Alex Ferguson] there has ever been,” the Real Madrid coach told ShortList. “He has so much knowledge to give, but it is a new league for him. If he is given time, I am sure he will do a good job.”