La Liga

Lim: Neville appointment not related to friendship

Valencia owner Peter Lim insists Gary Neville’s appointment at the Mestalla was on merit rather than in relation to their friendship.

Neville was handed his first head-coach role by the Singaporean businessman after Nuno Espirito Santo was sacked in November, the former Manchester United full-back appointed until the end of the season.

The England coach’s appointment came as something of a surprise given his lack of experience in a top job, with some suggesting his relationship with Lim – who is a co-owner of Salford City with Neville – helped his chances.

Lim has rejected those reports, though, and says the 40-year-old is the right man to restore pride at the Liga club.

“I picked Gary not because he is a good friend; Gary is a good coach, who happened to be a friend,” Lim told the club’s official website.

“I think that has to be very clear to everyone. I look at him, he has got the potential in him, I knew him for a while and his football knowledge is tremendous.

“He is top pundit in the UK. I chose him because of his knowledge of football and everything that is around football.

“So as interim manager for the rest of the season, I think that it suits me and I think it will suit the club very well to have him see through the period, and we’ll take it from there. That is how I look at it.”

He added: “I am very confident about him, the only shortfall is maybe the language. But I believe he can overcome it, because he is a very determined person.

“More important is his experience, not only as a manager but his playing days, I think he can hold this team together. We have a very young team.

“I know a lot of people say ‘oh no, he has never been a coach’, but I do believe that he has got the ability to become a good coach.”

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