Gary Neville needs to win the Copa Del Rey to buy some time

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There's the famous rumour that should Sir Alex Ferguson had lost the 1990 FA Cup final, he would have been sacked as the manager of Manchester United.

Imagine that. The Premier League as we know it would be completely different; Manchester United would never have enjoyed the success they did and maybe Liverpool would have a few more Premier League titles. It's incredible how much difference one game can make.

Ferguson's former player, Gary Neville, is having a similar start as Valencia manager to Ferguson at the beginning of his tenure at Old Trafford.


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At the start of the 1989/90 season, Manchester United failed to win any of their opening eight games. Sound familiar? Well, it should. In his first eight La Liga matches, Gary Neville is yet to chalk up a victory. Much like Ferguson, it could well be the domestic cup which saves his job.

Fans and press still on his side

Despite Valencia's recent struggles, the fans and press still seem to be on Neville's side. He shows a charisma in his press conferences which makes him instantly likable, add that to his obvious passion and it's easy to see why he's a fans' favourite.

But likability can only get him so far. No matter how highly regarded he is by the fans, if Valencia don't start winning games soon, Neville may be returning back to punditry sooner than he'd like. Valencia already sit 19 points behind Villarreal in fourth, making a challenge for the Champions League places an unrealistic target.

With the glory of the Copa Del Rey looming, the match with Barcelona in the semi-finals may be the biggest managerial challenge Neville will ever face. If they can overcome the reigning champions, then Sevilla or Celta Vigo would wait in the final - a match where Valencia would be favourites.

Copa Del Rey win would buy Neville time

As much as Gary Neville would love to win the Copa Del Rey to repay the faith shown by the board, or the constant support of the Valencia fans, he would mostly cherish the time it would give him.

The Copa Del Rey is still regarded as a huge competition in Spain. If Neville could win the trophy it would prove to the owners that he is the right man for the job and relieve any pressure that may be placed upon him.

It could well be the catalyst to a very successful managerial career - he only needs to ask Sir Alex Ferguson to understand the importance of winning the domestic cup.

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Gary Neville
La Liga

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