Valencia manager Gary Neville insists he did not insult referee before being sent off
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 18/03/16 7:57am
Gary Neville insists he did not insult the referee before being sent off in Valencia's away goals defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League on Thursday.
Valencia were 2-1 up on aggregate before a controversial goal from Aritz Aduriz knocked them out at the last-16 stage, leaving Neville fuming.
Neville was sent to the stands for protesting against the officials for what he felt was a handball in the build-up to Bilbao's away goal, but insists he will not blame the result on referee Daniele Orsato.
"I have not insulted the referee," Neville insisted. "I don't like to blame the defeat on the referee.
"I think we could have won by four or five. I have seen a very good game. We have been eliminated from the Europa League and it is a bad night.
"It was the team's highest level since I was here. I think the fans can leave Mestalla proud. There may be disappointment, but tonight the intensity has been maximum. It must be repeated and that is all I ask."
Valencia sit 11th in La Liga and host Celta Vigo at the weekend as they look to finish the season strongly.
Neville's future is still uncertain, but the Englishman insists the season is not over, and that the players have a responsibility to fight until the end of the campaign.
"We've seen the two sides of Valencia in the last four days. Sunday's game and tonight, the differences are evident. It needs to be shown in the next matches.
"They players now have nine games ahead. When you wear this shirt, you have the responsibility to fight every day.
"The fans were right to criticise us on Sunday, but today they will be proud.
"We just want the team to fight for every ball. Even if you have disappointment you can have disappointment in the right way.
"Our season is not over. It can never be over even if this club has one football match left."