Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pako Given 2 Year Contract

Pako Ayestaran is named as the coach for the next 2 years.  It was announced officially today that Pako will continue as coach for the following 2 years.  It has not come as too much of a surprise I suggest as he seemed to have been the favourite despite other names coming forward.  Some will be bitterly disappointed that we were not able to or unwilling to secure a bigger name, especially as a recent poll showed that 83% of supporters were against his appointment.

His two bad defeats at the end of the season to Villareal and Real Sociedad do not seem to have gone against him too much. However the resultas and performances against Real Madrid and Barcelona may have helped his cause somewhat.

It is certain that his appointment is going to split opinion amongst the supporters with many saying it is a good appointment and others hating it and being very disappointed that a bigger name was not secured.

I guess it is wait and see time now and my opinion is, that we do not know who else was approached and whether or not that even wanted to come here now with the fact that we are not in Europe and there are limited funds available due to the constraints of the fair play rules.  Therefore before we all start shouting that we will never support the team again we should just think in the bigger picture.

One positive is, that he knows the players now and hopefully he knows who we need to sell. A new face would have come in and taken a while to get to know we have players that need to be moved on.
 He has already, apparently stated how unfit the players were and will be making sure they will be well prepared for next season.  I just hope we can all get behind him and hope that he can put us back in the top four where we all feel we belong.

Pako Ayestarán appointed Valencia manager until 30 June 2018

VCF Official Statement

"Valencia Club de Fútbol wish to announce the appointment of Francisco Martín Ayestarán Baranadiarán -Pako Ayestarán- as head coach of the first team, on a deal running through to June 30th, 2018.

The squad were informed of the decision this morning by club Chairwoman, Lay Hoon Chan, and Sporting Director, Jesús García Pitarch at the Ciudad Deportiva de Paterna.
A press conference with Pako Ayestarán, Lay Hoon Chan and Jesús García Pitarch will be held at 6:30pm this Tuesday afternoon, in the VIP Box at Mestalla."


All a bit of an anti-climax, after names like Mourinho and Pellegrini were thrown around. The former just seemed to be using us to force Manchester United's hand, however, the latter seemed a real possibility. Instead, we have yet another manager who's largely unproven at the top level. When will the club stop gambling this way and learn the lesson that a skilled squad needs a real leader to get the best from it? Pako's record towards the end of last season was not that impressive. 3 wins, a draw and 4 defeats. That did include a win at Barcelona, but we often seem to raise our game against the top teams, only for this to prove worthless as we squander points with defeats at Las Palmas or at home to Sociedad. Can Pako get a bit extra out of this underperforming squad? I remain to be convinced.

On the plus side, he does have the fans on his side...for now...so next season can start without the negativity that dogged last season. His priority will be to work alongside Suso and revamp the squad, throwing out some of the dead wood.

Lay Hoon Chan gave an interview recently (link here) where she did admit to mistakes made last season, specifically: "The key thing is to plan for a balanced squad. What we learnt from the last season was that our squad was a bit too young and inexperienced."

Talk is cheap, so the summer transfer window will show if words can become actions.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Valencia CF horrendous season ends

Valencia CF horrendous season has come to an end and it finished in the same terrible fashion that it started. I feel like now the team, the players and the fans need to reflect on what happened and learn from it, in order not to repeat the mistakes from the past.

I think its safe to say that the sacking of Nuno was a mistake, he technically left on his own accord, but he was forced out by the fans who were shouting and whistling at him at every moment. I've already written about this so there is no point to come back to it, but in terms of sporting results it was clearly a mistake to get rid of him and for that I blame a big portion of the Spanish fans, you guys are just as much at fault for our poor results this season as the whole team.

Now that mistake led to another in the appointment of Gary Neville, former players with no coaching experience, who's sole coaching job was an assistant coach of England, basically couple dozen games throughout the whole year, so essentially extremely little experience. He was looking to become a coach though and he is/was close friends with Peter Lim so he was appointed to the position at Valencia CF. The primary reason for Peter Lim was to get the English media to cover Valencia CF, to have that exposure and surely Gary couldn't do worse than Nuno, after all the team was playing rather poor and even though the results were there it was not good enough, Valencia CF needed to be in the top 4 to 5, not 8th place even though it was still early in the season.

This experiment failed and it failed miserably, sure Valencia CF got a lot of coverage, but it didn't bring them anymore fans, how would it have with the play and results under Gary Neville. I think the play improved in the first few matches under him, probably just because of the players being more relaxed, not having the fans at their throats, but the results were not there and they did not come at all, in fact it became so bad under him that there was a worry that Valencia CF would actually fight to avoid relegation and possibly even fall to the lower division, Peter Lim had to make sure that didn't happen and friend or not his hand was forced so he sacked Gary and appointed Pako who at the time was Gary's assistant.

I think the hope was that with Pako as Gary's assistant the team would improve, it would have one experienced manager and help save Gary's career and Valencia's performances, but that didn't happen, so Gary Neville was sacked and Pako was appointed temporary coach to steer the ship out of the murky waters and into the clear, avoid that relegation spot and bring some good results to the club.

Pako instantly did better, he had few wins in a row, the play seemed somewhat better, there was more organization it felt in the play, it wasn't just mindless play as before, so there was some organization and some improvement, enough to lead Valencia CF to the upper half of the table, but overall in terms of results it isn't good, especially if you look at our last match, back to old habits, back to the poor old play, back to losing to terrible teams which we should be easily disposing off.

Pako was poised to become Valencia CF next coach, but he did himself no favors and the last few matches gave us doubt about his ability to lead the team, his record isn't that good with the team, its decent, but decent for a bottom table team, not decent for a champions league teams, which Valencia CF is and should be.

So here we are now with all the options open about Valencia's next coach, the team had a BIG chance to sign Manuel Pellegrini, I wrote a whole editorial how and why Peter Lin should do it, how it would SAVE us money in the long term, I know Peter is a business man, so I know he understands that on an intellectual level, but I have a feeling he doesn't understand it at an basic human level, instinctual level and thus hasn't signed him as coach.

Valencia CF needs an experienced and proven coach someone who guarantees results, not some no name, not some third degree coach, not some friend of a friend coach, we need top level coach to put Valencia CF back into the champions league and paying more money for that coach initially would save us money later, because Valencia CF will be in the champions league, will have the results to find better sponsors and we won't have to be overpaying for absurdly expensive players to certain agents. Someone like Manuel Pellegrini would save Valencia CF a TON of money!

Unfortunately Peter Lim and the whole management are clueless, including the old/new sporting director Jesus Garcia, no one is thinking strategically, no one is thinking long term, no one is thinking in terms of the big picture, all of the decisions so far have been in the moment, blinded decisions for hopefully quick payout and its backfired and hasn't worked.

Sell a player if you must, we have Negredo, surely someone can give us 15-18 million on him, recuperate some of the money we spend on him and get rid of his salary payments, he is costing the team too much money and hasn't contributed anything. He's been terrible since coming to Valencia CF and if you didn't know who he is you'd think it was some mediocre player that came for just few million euros to be backup to Paco Alcacer, which is what he's been. He was supposed to be a leader, he was supposed to guarantee 15-20 goals per season, he was supposed to teach Paco and help elevate the player and bring his experience, but he's failed completely at everything.

Sell Negredo, recoup some of that wasted 30 million euros, get rid of his super high salary that he doesn't earn and hire Manuel Pellegrini, he's said personally he's like to come back to Spain, its one of the cities he can call home literally and has been, he'd like a more focused project where he can build a team and not not have to deal with Champions league, which he can do in Valencia CF and instead of choosing some English minnow that no one cares about, he could choose Valencia CF and keep his reputation. All we need to do is transfer Negredo's salary to Pellegrini, pitch him the project, pitch him long term support and I'm talking strong, but realistic time frame like 3 years.

Sofiange Feghouli is also out this summer, his contract is ending and soon we'll get rid of his salary as well, which has been improved several times, and while he's played brilliantly on occasions, he hasn't been consistent and hasn't proven a difference maker, so sorry, but he has to go.

Pablo Piatti will also be leaving this summer if we can find a buyer for him, don't think we'll get much money on that sale, but just the saving on his salary would be huge, he was great for Valencia CF last season, but this season he couldn't repeat that and slowly but surely fell to the sideline.

We also have Rodrigo De Paul who will be back from his loan and he'll be available for that position, if we sign Cheryshev we'll also have another player for that position, though at this point I think it might be a mistake to sign him, if we could get him on loan again for one year I'd make the deal, but signing an injured player who will need at least 3 months of recovery is always a risk, he might not come back as strong.

We also have Fede Cartabia who will be coming back from loan, he can play both left and right wing, usually right wing though and I have high expectations from him, I think we should keep him in the team this season and give him a chance, let him prove himself, he is a good player and if he can develop at Valencia CF and learn the players, the system, the coach he can become great player, he just need to be given a chance helped into it, have a coach who would help him reach his potential.

There is a lot to do now that the season has ended, several players need to be sold and/or released, primarily though we need to find a great coach and then bring in some additions that the coach and sporting director Jesus can both agree on to strengthen the squad.

Also I would like to thank all our writers on the blog, especially Mick this year who's really stepped up in my absence and continued the write-ups of the matches. I've been extremely busy, plus the disappointment of this season and haven't been able to write anything really. Hopefully I can step up to the plate and do better again.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Valencia CF 0-1 Real Sociedad

The last game of the season and it is a game to forget just like the season.  Two new centre backs in Santos and Vezo and Danilo central midfield in place of Fuego. Most pleasing though was to see Jaume back in goal much to the delight of the home fans. 20,000 fans bothered to turn up and I guess the ones that didn't bother knew what was in store for us.

The first period was devoid of any excitement or incident except seeing Piatti helped off after appearing to pull a muscle chasing a ball from Gomes. He had been pretty awful it has to be said but hearing a certain section of the crowd whistling as he went down, in my opinion was a disgrace. Piatti has given this club some good years and some good performances and he did not deserve to be treated in that way. There appeared to be tears in his eyes as he was limping off, no doubt as a result of his injury, the jeering and even perhaps the thought that this may be his final game in a Valencia shirt.  Nobody deserves to end in that manner.
I was expecting whistles at half time but when Santos got his head to a corner and shaved the back post it at least postponed the protests to the final whistle.

The first half had been probably the most boring 45 minutes I have spent at the Mestalla apart from the time when me and the wife got the kick off time wrong earlier in the season against Rapid Vienna and arrived an hour and half early and wondered why we were almost the only ones there. However this comes as a close second.  It looked, as it was, and end of the season game with nothing for either team to play for apart from extra TV money which was quite a lot apparently. However, as it wasn't going into the players pockets, they obviously weren't bothered.  While we were still awaiting the first shot at goal from Valencia,  Real went and stole it right at the end. A mix up in our goal allowed Oyarzabel to fire home a minute from time.  We should really have been a goal up when a few minutes earlier Alcacer was barged over in the area but the referee, who was having his last La Liga game, ignored the shout for a penalty. Negredo, who had just come on managed to fire the loose ball wide and high.  He also missed a good opportunity a minute earlier when heading just over, a loose ball, but it wasn't to be our night yet again. Yellow cards to Vezo and Gomes which were not deserved makes me feel that I wish this ref had retired last week especially after turning down our blatant penalty against Alcacer.
This is the first time ever I have left the ground before the final whistle and my feelings are that I am glad to see the back of this season and hope things will improve next year, which I am sure they will.

Player Ratings
Jaume  6.5   Not too much to do but made a few very good saves to keep us in the game. Had no chance with the goal.  He has to stay surely.
Barragan 4.5  Keeps forgetting he is a defender and ploughs forward recklessly and far too casual in getting back.  Needs to be replaced.
Santos 5.5   I thought he had a good game and is big strong presence in the defence. Made one bad error to get caught with the ball but won it back well to clear.  He can stay with us
Vezo 5.5  Another good performance and looks really confident now again. Sometimes passes a bit wild but he is a defender.  Has to stay for next season
Siqueira 5.0  Had a good game going forward and made some good tackles when defending. Always looking to get in on the attacking action.  Has to stay to share the spot with Gaya
Danilo  4.5  I do not think this guy is good enough for this team. He is not rubbish but he is not good. I think if we can get him cheap, I mean, under 4 mill. we should take him and loan him out.
Parejo 6.5  Kept things going while others looked disinterested. He would be badly missed and we need a similar player to cover for him in event of injury or suspension.
Gomes 5.0  Too many balls lost again but works hard for the team. Made some nice surging runs as usual but sometimes seems on a different wave length to others except Parejo.
Mina 5.5  Always gives his heart to the play. Took a nasty cut on the lip when fell into the keeper but got back up and continued.
Piatti 4.0  Another really poor game.  It is such a shame but I think for him and the club he has to go and start afresh with another team. The fans have lost confidence in him now and it shows in his play.
Alcacer 5.0  Left on his own up front and I do not understand why Negredo wasn't brought on at half time or even from the start.  As soon as he did come on we started making chances. A real error from Pako I.M.O.

Cancello 4.5 Replaced Barragan.  What has happened to him, he seems to have lost his way.
Negredo  N/A   Unfair to score him, he was on 10 mins, made and missed 2 good chances but livened up the attack.
Sito  5  Replaced Piatti.  has a good turn of speed and gets out of corners well. Looks a good prospect but did not impress me too much in this game.

Coach  Pako  4.5  I thought tonight he got it all wrong and it appears to me that if the players wanted him to be the manager next season they might have played with a bit more enthusiasm for him. I can only think they do not rate him because if they did they would have shown it on the pitch.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Real Madrid 3-2 Valencia CF

OK lets get straight to the point here. We were totally robbed in this game by corrupt or just plain pathetic officials. It happens so many times and fortunately it was not an important game for us but It could have an effect on the winners of La  Liga this season. OK that is the down side of today but the plus is that we played an amazing game against one of the strongest and richest teams in the world.

No major surprises with Abdennour slotting back in the defense in place of the unfortunate Santos, one of the few pluses after the previous game, and Perez back in defensive midfield. The news is going to be all about the title race and our performance will soon be forgotten apart from the Valencia fans. However we started really well and were very compact. Of course RM were making chances, That is to be expected but we were looking comfortable but for long periods passing the ball with confidence. Cancello had a great chance but chipped over with the goal gaping . This all changed after 26 minutes however when Ronaldo picked up the ball in front of goal before sidestepping Abdennour to beat Alves at the far post with a low drive. No complaints so far as it was a well taken goal from a top player. Just before the break it all changed and the officials started to get in on the action. A ball played across goal  finds Benzema a metre offside and in front of the ball fumbled His shot was pushed out by Alves but Cancello played it back into the danger zone whilst making a tackle. The ball went straight back to Benzema who couldn't believe his luck to slide it home. The problem was he should have been flagged offside on the first attempt and the goal should not have. stood Abdennour was injured in the melee and would be replaced at the break.

So down to 2.0 RM They will now surely go on and get some more goals to humiliate us. Something must have seen said at half time or was it the changes. Abdennour off injured replaced by Mina and Gomez on for Cancello who was having an awful time today. It was a brave attacking line up and Changes seem to take the RM by surprise as all of a sudden the game was open again. Valencia Were enjoying loads of possession, as they had done in the first period, and the chances were coming. Alcacer had a great chance from close in a cross from Mina. Gomes with should have done better but fired over an almost open goal. Mustaffi clipped a post with a low shot and Parejo hit the bar from a free kick. We were having more chances than than the last three or four games combined. 

Rodrigo got us back in the game after another great run from Mina to the ball was cleared just outside the area for Rodrigo to blast it home. Unfortunately pushing forward with us it left a huge gap in defense That was reliable to exploit Ronaldo when he outrun  Barragan esily to beat Alves with a powerful shot. There was more to come when Gomes had a shot from ouside the area after a corner to blast the ball home to make it short 3.2. The game had an exciting edge and looked to be going either way with many chances until! This is where the ref wanted to make a name for himself. For some inexplicable  reason he shows Rodrigo a red card. As there was no tackle or contact we have to assume it was something he said. Come on referee this is a decider in the La Liga title race and you have sent off a player with a straight red for saying something out of place. How many players have had a red card this season for swearing or being offensive. This is a good time to stamp your authority as if it was not enough to deny us a perfectly legal goal you have to hand the game to Real Madrid just when it was looking like Valencia would get back in the game.

Player Ratings

Alves 6-0 Made some good stops and not really at fault for the goals
Siquiera 6.0 Had a good game and got forward to support well
Mustafi 6.5 Had his usual game winning the ball  dependent in the air, on the ground and passing out well  
Abdennour 6.0 Could not be blamed for the Ronaldo goal as I think any defender would have struggled to stop him.
Barragan 5.5 Still not convinced and I feel he will have to be replaced in the summer
Fuego 5.5 Worked hard in the middle but maybe his past better days and needs replacing.  
7.0 The good Parejo was on show again today with his passing and ball winning
Perez 7.0  worked really hard for the team, lets hope he stays fit next season
 Cancello 5.0 A game to forget and was replaced at half time. Should have scored and was partly at fault for the offside goal
Rodrigo 6.5  A great goal and a great game, really improving with his confidence now
Alcacer 6.0  Unlucky with his close in effort that was well saved but no goals to show.

Subs  Gomes 6.5  Great goal and great game. Needs to stay with us
          Mina    6.5  A good performance again
          Patti   No time.

Pako  7.0  Has to stay now I would suggest

Monday, May 2, 2016

Valencia CF 0-2 Villareal

The Valencia Tugboat Sunk By The Villareal Yellow Submarine

This was a game I really believed that we would win. Villareal, having played on Thursday against Liverpool must have been feeling a little jaded especially  knowing they had the return leg next week However, as the case is so often our 'heroes' let us down yet again this season.

The game started well enough for us and we seemed for a while to be in control. Unfortunately, a throw in from Cancello was totally miscontrolled on the chest of Rodrigo, the ball bounced away to Soldado to cross for Samuel to make a mug of Siqueira and place the ball to the left of Alves. there were there enough defenders to prevent the goal but they seemed all over the place and not at all organised as has been the case too often this season. So, 14 minutes and a goal down, not a great start but plenty of time to get back in the game. Santos had stepped in for Abdennour and Negredo was given an opportunity in place of Alcacer. Fuego being preferred to Perez and Cancello instead of Barragan.

 Villareal's Rodrigo had a chance to add to their score but narrowly missed when a long shot scraped the post. In the 33rd minute we were two goals down. The defense had all inexplicably pushed forward leaving Adrian alone on the left wing. A long ball found him and after a long run unopposed through the Valencia half, easily beat the out rushing Alves in the home goal to make it 0-2. The chances now seemed to be falling all the way of Villareal with Valencia finding it difficult to make any impression on the team in yellow.

In the second half Cancello was making plenty of runs and crosses but nobody seemed to be getting on the end of them and we nearly lost another goal when Siqueira deflected to cross onto the post.
Soldado had been causing all sorts of problems for Valencia and what a pity we did not take the risk on buying him from Spurs as he still looks as good as ever and has added to his game after his spell in the Premier Division in England. His deft flicks and lay offs caused us problems every time.

Cheryshev was introduced in place of Mina but unfortunately soon went down holding his leg  and it appears that his old injury has been aggravated and it may be the end of  his season for us. Maybe we can get him a bit cheaper if he is injured. Perez was on for Fuego and Alcacer for Gomez. None of the changes made much difference because we were outplayed for most of it the game by all round better and a more organised team. It is no surprise they have qualified for the Champions League and they are class team in my opinion.

There were spells in the second half when we played some good football and retained the ball well for long periods. Unfortunately we were lacking penetration and Villareal were  content to let us have the ball in our own half and sit back to soak up the pressure what little we had to offer. They packed their defense and even though Cancello was making good runs there was nobody there to finish them off. We had to play ten minutes until the end with only ten men after Cheryshev went off as all the subs had Been used.

When you play Villareal you need all players playing well. Unfortunately, Javi Fuego, Andre Gomes, Negredo, Rodrigo and Santi Mina, were all below what should be expected. Good games for Santos and Parejo and of course Mustafi. There was nothing in the game for us to play for other than local pride and rewarding the fans for an awful season but it was not to be. I was at the game and saw no lack of effort or will to win I think that we were just not good enough on the day.
There will have to be major changes in the playing staff next season, we really need to bring in some new blood to invigorate the team and the fans, we definitely can not continue like this or the stadium will be empty.

Player Ratings

Alves 5.5   Not really at fault for the goals as I was left exposed but maybe could have done better and had no other shots to save.
Siqueira 5.5   Made some good attacking runs especially in the first half but maybe could have done more on the second goal
Santos 6.5   Replaced Abdennour and looked a really good player tonight, in my opinion. always strong in the tackle and no errors that I can recall
7.0 Mustafi   Won everything in the air and looked as good as ever. worked well with Santos with better understanding.
6.5 Cancello   Went missing a few times in defense and was rebuffed by the coach for it but very effective in attack. Surely his place is right midfield and we need to get a more defensive right back to cover .  With Feghouli probably going he is the man to replace him.
Parejo 7.0   This is the Parejo I like to see, despite things going wrong around him he was always involved and spreading the ball well. Deserves better players around him.
Gomes 5.0   A great footballer with amazing skills but as I have always been saying, where is the end  ball? where is the goal?. They are just not coming and that is what you have to be judged on and he is just not doing it for me.
Fuego 5.0  Another flop of the day. Just when he has had a couple of decent performances recently I believe he is back to his worst self. Giving away too many balls and should have been replaced by Perez earlier.
Rodrigo 5.5   Can never be accused of not running and not trying but missed a good chance to score and did nothing to convince me that he has a future here at the moment. Maybe needs a loan out somewhere to improve his game.
Mina 5.5   I am honestly trying to remember if he did anything to comment on either good or bad but can not remember what I did do, therefoe the low score.
Negredo 5.5   A real enigma, tonight laid off some nice balls at times then fell over on other occasions. To me I still think he looks overweight and lethargic and I can not understand why Alcacer did not start the game. Maybe as decisions will be made ​​soon, it was another opportunity for him to prove himself. Well, I think he failed tonight.

Cheryshev 59 mins for Mina
Perez 70 mins for Fuego
Alcacer 76mins for Gomez

Goals Samuel 14mins - 33mins Adrian

Yellow card Fuego

Attendance 40,000 (39,000 of them disappointed people)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Getafe 2-2 Valencia post match thread

After a run of good results, it was almost back to the drawing board for Valencia with a very lacklustre and iffy performance against one of the division's worst teams. There was little to separate the teams in the first half, with, if anything, Getafe having the better chances and rattling the crossbar with a shot which had Alves beaten. In the second half, Parejo produced one of his trademark free kicks, beating Guaita with a brilliant dipping shot. Unfortunately, that was mostly as good as it got for Valencia, as we were under the cosh from then on, with Getafe looking much the better side. It was only poor finishing from their players that prevented them from putting the game out of sight. Nonetheless, they established a 2-1 lead, first after a goalmouth scramble when a lot of our defenders were standing around like dummies and secondly, after Abdennour, who had been in better form of late, produced yet another howler. Only Negredo has cost us more points this season. Speaking of which, against the run of play, Negredo, on as a sub to make a rare appearance alongside Paco, produced a brilliant assist, dribbling past 3 defenders before laying it off for Paco to equalise. 1 point gained more than 2 points lost as a Getafe win would have been a fairer result.

The team selection in this game was very questionable. Why was Barragan playing instead of Cancelo? Didn't Mina deserve his chance up front more than Rodrigo? While the defence had a day to forget, the main problem seemed to lie in midfield, with 4 midfielders seeming unsure of who was supposed to be doing what. It was almost like Gary Neville had never gone away. The result leaves us 8 points behind Sevilla with 3 games left and, while it's still mathematically possible, only a fanatical optimist would believe we could steal 7th from this position.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Valencia 4-0 Eibar post-match thread

As none of the regulars have done a write up, I'm putting this up as a placeholder for post-match comments. Unfortunately, I missed the game, but from what I've seen from the highlights, it was another solid performance, with Paco doing well and Cancelo and Rodrigo combining on the right. Also of note, this was the first time since 1 November (!) during the Nuno era, that we kept a clean sheet in La Liga.

Just some thoughts for discussion: has Pako Ayerastan done enough to get the job on a permanent basis? Is Paco Alcacer finally back to form after a goal drought? Was this Rodrigo's best game in a Valencia shirt? Has Diego Alves re-established himself as the number one choice keeper? Enzo Perez has played well recently, but should we keep him given how injury prone he is?

We're 6 points behind Sevilla, who have the better head-to-head, can we really overtake them in 4 games, as unlikely as it seems? Or should we use the last few games to give younger and b-team players a chance?