Former Manchester United captain and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has made a brave decision to take over as boss of Spanish club Valencia as his first foray into management.
Valencia are a very big club in Spain, and Neville will be heading into the job knowing that some fans and even club legends are not happy with his appointment, but David Moyes, a man who knows all too well the difficulties of managing in Spanish football, has suggested some other things that could prove to be troublesome for Neville.
Having recently been sacked as manager of Real Sociedad, Moyes is now being linked to a number of clubs in England such as Swansea City and Newcastle, but he penned an opinion piece for The Independet where he explained what he believes will cause Gary Neville problems initially:
The Mestalla is an incredible stadium, the fans are passionate – but they are also demanding. There is an expectation at Valencia and that could be difficult to deal with. They had a great season last season and got into the Champions League and although they have not started so well this season I think they are very capable of finishing fourth again, which will be the aim.
It is also a brave decision because it is Gary’s first job and, although he will be very knowledgeable about Spanish football, it is a new league for him to work in and a new country. The football itself and the way it is organised are very different.
It’s not always easy to explain, but there is a difference: the players, how they react, the referees – there is less time with the ball in play; there are fewer challenges. Players go down easily, the referees react. Then there are things like the kick-off times, which can change, the way the players prepare, the way the league itself is organised. It can all feel very different from the Premier League.
Even things like the away supporters. In Spain you very rarely have away supporters, so you only ever have the home backing. In many of the grounds that can be quite intimidating with the whistling and the way they try to affect the referee. The Mestalla was very much like that.
It's interesting to hear Moyes point out the playacting and the influence that the fans and players can have on the referees, but while this list reads as a warning, the former Everton and Man United boss is backing Neville to do well.
Moyes also listed why he is backing Gary to do well, and signed off with a message of well wishes to the new Valencia manager:
Gary has worked under Alex Ferguson, he has worked with Roy Hodgson, he has done very well as a pundit and coach and he has his brother there. I firmly believe he can do well and hope he does.
I wish him well.
Gary Neville will be delighted with the performance his players put in against Barcelona on Saturday night, coming from behind to secure a 1-1 draw, and it will certainly be interesting to see how the Neville brothers take on a task far outside of their comfort zone.