Gary Neville sacked by Valencia after failing to turn fortunes around

Gary Neville has been sacked by Valencia after less than four months in charge, with former coach Pako Ayestaran taking charge until the end of the season.

Neville, 41, was appointed head coach of the La Liga club on Dec. 2 but failed to turn their season around.

In 16 games in charge of Valencia, Neville won just three games, drew five and lost eight. Los Che currently sit 14th in the table, six points above the relegation zone.

Valencia fans booed the team after the 2-0 home defeat to Celta Vigo before the international break, and were heard chanting "Gary leave now" during the game.

A statement released on the club's official website read: "Valencia Football Club have today parted company with Gary Neville as head coach.

"After careful consideration, the club have decided to make a change with the best interests of the Valencia CF moving forward this season. We thank Gary for his work at Valencia and wish him the best in the future.

"The club have, today, appointed Pako Ayestaran as head coach until the end of the season.

"Ayestaran was the assistant coach of Valencia Football Club from 2001 to 2004 and helped the club clinch two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup trophy. From 2004 to 2007, when he was an assistant coach of Liverpool FC, the English club won the 2004-05 UEFA Champions League, as well as the 2006 FA Cup.

"As a head coach Ayestarán was a winner with Maccabi Tel-Aviv (winning one league and two Cups) and he also coached in México with Santos Laguna and Estudiantes Tecos (champions of the Clausura Tournament)."

Neville made the following statement via the club website:

"I would like to thank Valencia Football Club, the fans, staff and the players. I would have liked to have continued the work I started but understand that we are in a results business and in the 28 games (W10 D7 L11) they have not been to my standards or to those which are required by this Club."

Valencia reached the semifinals of the Copa del Rey but lost 7-0 to Barcelona in the first leg at the Camp Nou, and 8-1 on aggregate. Athletic Bilbao knocked them out of the Europa League at the round-of-16 stage.

Only last week Neville insisted he had no intention of stepping down. "No. I believe we have to focus on the upcoming games," he insisted. "The situation is not good, the results have not been sufficiently good and we are all frustrated.

"I was signed for five months and I accepted this enormous challenge. I understand that the results are far from what was expected. Now I have to focus on the work needed to be done in the next two months to save ourselves and at the end of the season, the club will evaluate the situation."

Valencia have eight games left to climb up the La Liga standings, although they include meetings against four of the top six -- they face Barca and Real Madrid away, and Sevilla and Villarreal at home.

They travel to the Canary Islands to face Las Palmas after the international break, before next hosting Sevilla at the Mestalla.