Valencia’s club president has apologised to fans for the team’s poor performance in 2016. Layhoon Chan, who runs the Spanish top-tier side for Singaporean owner Peter Lim, said it “has been a difficult year and I want to ask forgiveness from all of Valencia’s fans for the poor season.”
Chan spoke while standing beside a Christmas tree in a video posted Saturday on the club’s website. Valencia has won only three matches in 15 rounds of the Spanish league, leaving it just above the relegation zone near the midpoint of the campaign. It has a game in hand, albeit against league leader Real Madrid. Very little has worked for Valencia for the last two seasons.
Coaches Nuno Espirito Santo, Gary Neville and Pako Ayesteran have all been fired, and the team continues to struggle under current boss Cesare Prandelli.
Prandelli, a former Italy coach who took over from Ayesteran in October, had a promising debut with a 2-1 victory at Sporting Gijon. But Valencia has yet to win since in the league, enduring four losses and drawing three more matches.
Its last league loss, a 3-2 defeat at Real Sociedad, was too much for some supporters, who kicked and punched the players’ bus when it returned to the club’s training center.
“We are going to keep working to find solutions,” Chan said on Saturday. “In this special season I want to send a message of hope, perseverance and confidence for the future.”
Valencia is the last team other than Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to win the league title – in 2004. And many of Valencia’s faithful hoped that Lim’s purchase of the then debt-ridden club would usher in another winning era.
But after one good season, the club has changed tack and sold most of its top talent. Central defenders Nicolas Otamendi and Shkodran Mustafi went to Manchester City and Arsenal respectively, while Barcelona bought midfielder Andre Gomes and striker Paco Alcacer.
Equally frustrating, young talents Jose Gaya (left back) and Santi Mina (forward) have not advanced as much as expected.
Only goalkeeper Diego Alves is impressing this season, with four more penalty saves to add to his reputation as one of Europe’s best penalty stoppers. Valencia did manage to end the year by beating Leganes in the Copa del Rey’s round of 32.