MADRID, March 13 – Gary Neville’s troubles as Valencia boss continued as Giuseppe Rossi’s solitary strike handed Levante a deserved 1-0 win in the Valencian derby on Sunday.
Neville has now won just three of 15 La Liga games in charge with Valencia rooted in mid-table mediocrity in 12th, just eight points above the relegation zone.
Victory revitalises Levante’s chances of beating relegation as they remain bottom of the table but move to within three points of safety.
Valencia’s season now hinges upon overturning a 1-0 first-leg deficit at home to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League on Thursday.
Despite making five changes from the side that lost in the Basque country in awful weather conditions in midweek, Valencia looked weary from their European exploits as Levante should have had just their sixth win of the season sewn up before half-time.
Rossi hit the post, whilst Diego Alves made fine saves from Deyverson and Zouhair Feddal.
Sofiane Feghouli also had the visitors’ two best chances before half-time, but was firstly denied by Diego Marino and then curled wide.
The second-half was shorter on goalmouth action, but despite Neville’s pre-match warning that they had to improve, Valencia were made to pay once more for poor defending at set-pieces as Rossi swivelled to volley a long-throw into the far corner 25 minutes from time.
Neville also insisted before the game that he will fulfil his duties as an England coach during a 10-day international break later this month.
That decision is likely to come under further scrutiny in the coming week with his future at the Mestalla far from secure.