‘Valencia Dressing Room Is In The Sh*t’ – Mustafi Apologises For Barcelona Drubbing

The defender revealed the mood in the dressing room after Gary Neville’s side suffered a 7-0 trouncing in the Copa del Rey at the hands of the world and European champions

Shkodran Mustafi admitted the mood in the Valencia team is horrible as he apologised to supporters after his side suffered a heavy 7-0 defeat to Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday.

Luis Suarez scored four goals and Lionel Messi netted a hat-trick as Barca gained the advantage in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final. 

Los Che are winless in La Liga under Gary Neville and the coach has refused to resign in the wake of the trouncing, despite calls for him to do so and apologise.

Mustafi was sent off just before half-time with Barca already leading 3-0, and the Germany international refrained from blaming himself, insisting the players must show a reaction.

“We want to say sorry to the supporters and to the people who are working for the club,” he told reporters. 

“But you can’t ask for forgiveness without giving a reaction. It’s not the time to talk about other sides. 

“We have to lift ourselves up and that is not easy. In the coming days we have to front everything like men.

“I do not look at who made the errors. In the good and bad moments we are together as one.

“The dressing room is in the s**t at the moment, but I believe in this team, and that is why I signed for this club. We were a team last year, and we are this year.

“For many people this has been the worst game of their career. 

“We need to lift our heads like men and grow. The dressing room has to lift. The return leg is not to overcome the score, but to ask for forgiveness.”

Neville: Valencia Job Is Not A PR Stunt

The coach has laughed off reports in Spain that his role at the Mestalla is part of an elaborate plot to dilute the perceived influence of agent Jorge Mendes at the club

Gary Neville has branded a report claiming his appointment at Valencia was a PR stunt as “ludicrous” and a “fantasy story”.

The former Manchester United defender was named the surprise successor to Nuno Espirito Santo in December, having worked as a TV punding and coach for England since his retirement.

A newspaper in Spain claimed Valencia owner Peter Lim told agent Jorge Mendes to find a coach the Portuguese didn’t represent to dispel suggestions he had too much influence at the club.

But Neville, who has already revealed he has no interest in staying in football management beyond his current job, is adamant this is not the case.

“I’ve never heard anything so ludicrous in my lie,” he said at a press conference. “It’s a fantasy story with absolutely no truth whatsoever.

“I don’t really know what to say, to be honest with you. It’s just nonsense.

“In England I would use a swear word, but I’m not quite sure the translator will be able to get it in the correct context.

Neville also touched on Madrid’s sacking of Rafael Benitez, just a day after the club drew 2-2 against his side, admitting he was disappointed to hear the news.

“Having been in the media of football and broadcasting for the last four-and-a-half years, I’m never surprised by anything I see in respect of managers losing their jobs.

“It’s never something I wanted when I wasn’t a coach, and it’s not something I want to see when I am a coach.

“But I’m not surprised by anything I see in football any more. The average tenure of manager and coach is getting shorter, unfortunately, but we have to accept it.”

Zinedine Zidane has replaced the outgoing Spaniard, despite having no first-team coaching experience, which Neville believes is similar to his own situation.

“I did not shy away from fact I had not coached before as a head coach. It is a very difficult job,” he said. “Everybody has to coach their first game once: even the more experienced coaches did that.

“The idea there is a perfect, template coach does not exist. Experienced coaches fail, young coaches succeed, and vice-versa. Everybody needs an opportunity, like I got here.”

Gary Neville Opens Doors To Valencia Fans On First Day

New Valencia coach Gary Neville has taken a step towards endearing himself to the club’s fans by allowing supporters to watch his first full training session in charge on Monday. Neville was appointed on Wednesday, but watched on from the stands at the weekend as Valencia salvaged a 1-1 draw against European champions Barcelona under the caretaker charge of Voro and Gary’s brother Phil Neville.

Open training sessions which the fans can attend are a long-running tradition in Spanish football, but many clubs have scaled back the practice in recent seasons seeking greater privacy to prepare for games. Indeed, Valencia hadn’t had an open training session for nearly a year and the news was warmly welcomed by fans on social media.

Neville’s first game in charge is on Wednesday as Valencia look to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time in three years. The Spanish side need to beat Lyon at home and hope Belgian champions Gent fail to beat the already qualified Zenit St Petersburg.

Official: Manchester City Sign Otamendi

Manchester City have confirmed the signing of centre-back Nicolas Otamendi from Valencia on a five-year deal.

The Argentina international, previously targeted by Manchester United, moves to the Etihad Stadium for a fee in the region of €45 million (£31.7m).

“I am here to give my best, to fight game by game and push City to the highest peaks for as long as possible, and I wish we will be able to win several cups and titles,” Otamendi told the club’s official website.

“That’s the most important. To be here inside a club that looks so wonderful from the outside is a dream.”

Manuel Pellegrini added: “Nicolas Otamendi was arguably the best defender in La Liga last season and so naturally I’m delighted to have added a player of his quality.


“He is an established international for one of the best nations in world football and I have no doubt that he has the right mentality to fit into a squad where he will find many familiar faces, including Eliaquim and Fernando who he played alongside in Portugal.

“As a footballer, Nicolas has all of the qualities to be a success in the Premier League – he’s strong, he’s excellent in the tackle and he’s very good technically.

“I am sure he will become another Argentine player our fans will enjoy watching.”

More to follow…