Valencia boss Gary Neville’s troubles continued as he branded his side’s performance “unacceptable” in losing their local derby 1-0 to Levante on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Sevilla maintained their hopes of Champions League football next season with a thrilling 4-2 win over Villarreal.
Neville has now won just three of 15 La Liga games in charge with Valencia rooted in mid-table mediocrity in 12th, just eight points above the relegation zone.
Former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi’s solitary goal revitalized Levante’s chances of beating relegation as they moved to within three points of safety despite remaining bottom of the table.
“I take responsibility for the defeat, but that was an indefensible performance, unacceptable and not good enough,” said Neville.
“I apologize to the fans of Valencia because the very basic premise of a football match is that you run, fight and tackle as hard as the opposition.”
Valencia’s season now hinges upon overturning a 1-0 first-leg deficit at home to Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League on Thursday.
Rossi hit the post, whilst Diego Alves made fine saves from Deyverson and Zouhair Feddal as Levante dominated the first-half.
The second-half was shorter on goalmouth action, but despite Neville’s pre-match warning that they had to improve, Valencia were made to pay once more for poor defending at set-pieces as Rossi swiveled to volley a long-throw into the far corner 25 minutes from time.
Neville also insisted before the game that he will fulfil his duties as an England coach during a 10-day international break later this month.
That decision is likely to come under further scrutiny in the coming week with his future at the Mestalla far from secure.
At the other end of the table, Sevilla moved to within five points of Villarreal in fourth as they came from behind to register a 16th straight win at home.
Vicente Iborra finished off a brilliant counter-attack to give Seville the lead.
However, Cedric Bakambu continued his fine form with a double to give Villarreal a 2-1 half-time lead.
Victor Ruiz’s own goal restored parity for the hosts before Yehven Konoplyanka’s stunning long-range strike regained the lead.
Sevilla had to see out the final 10 minutes with 10 men as Ever Banega was shown a second yellow card.
But Unai Emery’s men struck again on the break in stoppage time as Jose Antonio Reyes rolled into an empty net after Alphonse Areola saved Kevin Gameiro’s initial effort.
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