Gary Neville reveals he ‘ignored Sir Alex Ferguson’s advice’ at Valencia

Gary Neville ignored advice from his former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson during his disastrous four months in charge of Valencia. 

Neville won only 10 of his 28 games in charge of the Spanish club when he surprisingly took over in December 2015, and hasn’t returned to management since.

He has opened up about some of his regrets in Sky Sports’ Off Script podcast, and admitted it wasn’t his ‘wisest moment’ not to heed the words of his former boss.   

Gary Neville has opened up on his difficult four-month spell in charge of Valencia in 2015-16

Neville reveals that he ignored some helpful advice from Sir Alex Ferguson early in his spell


He said: ‘Early on, it was clear that some players were unhappy. I should have made big decisions on players that weren’t committed to club at that point. 

‘I remember speaking to Sir Alex Ferguson quite early on and his advice was: ‘”Just get rid of them, son. Protect yourself. Only have people in the dressing room that are facing the same direction as you.”

‘But I didn’t listen. I tried to talk some players round to staying until the end of the season. But they weren’t happy.

‘I ignored Sir Alex Ferguson’s advice.’

Neville enjoyed a successful playing career under Ferguson at Manchester United


Record: P28 W10 D7 L11 F39 A38

35.7% – Neville’s win percentage in all competitions

7-0 – Valencia’s crushing defeat by Barcelona was their heaviest in a Spanish cup match since 1928

0 – Clean sheets kept in La Liga by Valencia under Neville. They conceded 25 goals in 16 games

3 – Neville won just three games in La Liga

6 – Valencia were just six points above the relegation zone in La Liga with eight games to go when he left


La Liga when Neville took over… 

                 P W D L GD Pts

8 Eibar 13 5 5 3 +3 20

9 Valencia 14 5 5 4 +7 20

10 Seville 14 5 4 5 0 19

La Liga when Neville left… 

                           P W D L GD Pts

13 Real Betis 30 8 10 12 -13 34

14 Valencia 30 8 10 12 -3 34

15 Las Palmas 30 9 6 15 -10 33


Ferguson had a long history of dispensing with players at Old Trafford when he felt they were no longer aligned with his vision.

Paul Ince, Jaap Stam, Roy Keane, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy were all shown the door by Ferguson during his trophy-laden 27 years in charge. 

Neville was sacked by Valencia in March 2016 with eight games of the season to go, his reign ended by a home defeat by Celta Vigo.

His short spell also included a humiliating 7-0 thrashing by Barcelona at the Nou Camp. 

He said at the time: ‘I would like to thank Valencia Football Club, the fans, staff and the players.

Neville won only 10 of his 28 games during a four-month spell in charge of Valencia

Neville sits on the bench alongside his brother (Phil) during their time with Valencia in 2016

‘I would have liked to have continued the work I started but understand that we are in a results business and in the 28 games (W10, D7, L11) they have not been to my standards or to those which are required by this club.’

After his troubled Valencia spell, Neville returned to his previous job as a Sky Sports pundit and hasn’t gone back to coaching since, save for working as a coach under Roy Hodgson with England.

He left the national side after their Euro 2016 humiliation at the hands of Iceland, and has no intention of going back to that line of work.  


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