While Valencia headed into the final round of Group H matches in third place, they will have been confident that they could still have advanced to the last 16.
All Los Che needed to do was beat Lyon—who had registered only one point from a potential 15 in their five previous matches—and hope that minnows Gent didn’t beat Andre Villas-Boas’s Zenit St. Petersburg, who boasted a 100 percent record ahead of their final fixture.
Ultimately, a 78th-minute winner from Danijel Milicevic in Belgium meant that Valencia’s result was irrelevant, but their limp display against OL demonstrated to Neville the scale of the task facing him as he looks to re-establish the Spanish giants to their former glory.
Valencia fell behind when Maxwell Cornet opened the scoring with a fine effort—which admittedly took a hefty deflection off Aymen Abdennour—on 37 minutes.
The visitors extended their lead 14 minutes before the end when Lyon were quick to break, capitalising on a poor pass from Dani Parejo to break at speed.
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Alex Lacazette shook off Abdennour, before finishing low beneath Juame to confirm Neville’s miserable start to life in Spain’s third-largest city.
This frustrated effort from Parejo summed up Valencia’s offensive struggles, and underlined the work that the former Manchester United right-back needs to do to restore Los Che to their former glory.