London (AFP) – Former Valencia midfielder Gaizka Mendieta believes owner Peter Lim needs to adopt a more long-term approach to running the club, as they teeter above the La Liga relegation zone.
Valencia have gone through five coaches and three sporting directors in Lim’s two-and-a-half-year tenure, with Cesare Prandelli and Jesus Garcia Pitarch the latest figures to give up the respective roles.
Voro Gonzalez is now in his fifth stint as caretaker coach at the Mestalla and with Valencia three places above the bottom three, Mendieta says stability is desperately needed.
“The owners should maybe change the way they’re running the club, because it’s definitely not working,” he told AFP during an interview in London on Tuesday.
“When managers keep coming and going, when people on the football side keep leaving, this is not a good sign. That means the owners are not giving stability to the club.
“It’s not a club that in the last two years has had any consistency and football needs that. Players coming and going, all the players on loan, is something that needs to be arranged.”
Valencia finished fourth at the end of Lim’s first season in 2015, but slipped to 12th last season and could now face a relegation battle, albeit having witnessed an upturn in results under Voro.
Juan Antonio Pizzi, Nuno Espirito Santo, Gary Neville, Pako Ayestaran and former Italy coach Prandelli, who resigned last month, have all passed through the dug-out since he took over in June 2014.
The Singaporean businessman has faced open revolt from fans over Valencia’s recent struggles.
Supporters took to the streets to call for his departure after the recent 4-1 Copa del Rey defeat by Celta Vigo and fans on social media have rallied around the hashtag #LimGoHome.
Mendieta, blond-haired star of the Valencia team that reached the Champions League final in 2000 and 2001, thinks there are not enough people at boardroom level with a feel for what the club means.
– Karanka backing –
“It seems from outside there’s not enough football people in the club, especially now the sporting director has left,” said Mendieta, who spent nine years at Valencia.
“Through my experience, I don’t see in the club people who know the club and the city and the country and the league well enough to make football decisions.
“But Peter Lim is a mega-successful businessman, so I’m not going to tell him what to do.”
Mendieta also offered words of support for his compatriot Aitor Karanka, who is managing another of his former clubs, Middlesbrough.
Karanka hit out at fans after Boro’s 3-1 loss at home to West Ham United in the Premier League last Saturday, accusing them of creating an “awful” atmosphere by “asking for long balls”.
Karanka is reported to have expressed regret over his outburst to club officials, but Mendieta feels he was within his rights to speak out.
“Of course he’s allowed to do that,” said the 42-year-old, who also played for Barcelona and Lazio.
“I think every manager is allowed to say whatever he wants, especially if you feel fans are not really supporting your team when you most need them.
“In the same way that fans have the right to express their opinion and maybe say: ‘Play in a certain way.’
“Fans have to understand that the team has been working in a way, not only for that week, (but) for years or for months. If they want to play that way, it’s for a reason.”
Mendieta will represent Spain at Star Sixes, a six-a-side indoor tournament for former international footballers taking place at London’s O2 Arena in July.
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