Has the bubble already burst at Valencia?

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The calls for Valencia manager Nuno Santo to resign could be heard again at the Vicente Calderon at the weekend.

Los Che had just lost their third game of the season at Atletico Madrid and a manager who was lauded by the locale last season bore the brunt of their ire once again.

In the space of a few short months, the manager and new assistant Phil Neville have overseen a transformation from a lean, mean winning machine to a side that are nervous and frightened of imposing their natural game.


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It wasn't supposed to be like this.

Peter Lim's takeover which was confirmed at roughly this stage last season saw an air of expectancy at the club which hadn't been felt for years.

Glory Days

The glory days of Rafa Benitez appeared to be on the horizon and nothing Valencia did on the pitch convinced their supporters otherwise.

They were excellent, hard to beat and marshalled superbly well by their manager. So what's changed?

Like every team that doesn't get off to the best start, confidence becomes an issue. Just look at Chelsea for another prime example.

It's very hard to shake off the cobwebs, but everyone needs to stick together to bring the club through this. 

Goals have been at an absolute premium and that is probably the most noticeable difference between this team and last year's vintage.

Just eight goals in nine games is the third lowest return in the league. When you consider Los Che are Champions League-class, whereas the other lowest scorers are all relegation fodder at present, it brings the problem into sharp focus.


They are just three points from fourth-bottom in the league, currently occupied by another surprise underachiever in Athletic Bilbao. Conversely, only a point separates them from sixth place.

Arguably some of their problems are of their own making.

Taking Alvaro Negredo on loan from Manchester City with a promise to pay £24 million at the end of last season for a permanent transfer has locked up funds which could have been used elsewhere.

Negredo has only been used sparingly and indeed, Valencia tried unsuccessfully to move him on during the summer window.

Aside from one or two team members, the level of the squad as a whole has dropped significantly.

Lost in translation

Neville and Nuno have to address this problem quickly to ensure that the team don't fall further behind, but there is a school of thought that suggests the ex-Manchester United man's input hasn't been as well received as might have been expected.

Like David Moyes at Real Sociedad, another case of lost in translation.

In any event, the white handkerchiefs were out in force again, a particularly Spanish way of showing your disapproval.

Too much more of that and Lim could be forced to act. The bubble hasn't quite burst yet, but it's perilously close.

La Liga
Phil Neville

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