After enduring a turbulent 2015-16, former Valencia captain Gaizka Mendieta is confident the Liga club are on the right track as they prepare for the new season.
A campaign that promised much ended poorly last time out for Valencia, who went from Champions League participants to relegation candidates, finishing six points above the drop zone after claiming fourth a year before.
Two coaches paid the price along the way, with Nuno Espirito Santo shown the Mestalla exit door, followed by the brief tenure of Gary Neville.
With Pako Ayestaran now at the helm, having been promoted from his role as assistant in March after winning three of his eight games in charge, Mendieta believes the six-time Spanish champions – bankrolled by Singaporean tycoon Peter Lim – are showing signs of stability in their quest to recapture the glory days.
“It was difficult for everyone. Valencia were used to winning trophies, LaLiga championship, Champions League, Super Cups, Europa League etc,” Mendieta – a club icon who featured in two Champions League finals – told Omnisport when asked about last season.
“So all of a sudden that disappeared and when it seemed like the club were going back to at least playing Champions League and having a project as they moved forward, last season took it all away. It was confusing for everyone.
“I think it’s important for everyone to know where you’re going. Changing managers so many times, the sporting director leaving. Those things are never good for anyone, for fans, the club and players.
“So hopefully that’s over and the new project can help bring back what was taken away a long time ago.”
Mendieta added: “I think the club is stabilised. We all know the new president, now the structure looks as though it will stay in place. From the outside, it looks settled so it’s obviously more about results.”
Valencia – who kick-off their campaign at home to Las Palmas on August 22 – head into the new term on the back of a number of player changes, somewhat of a regular occurrence looking back at the transfers of David Silva, David Villa, Juan Mata.
Amid all the outs – including the likes of Andre Gomes and Sofiane Feghouli – Valencia did bring in Portugal star Nani as well as Martin Montoya on a free transfer from Barcelona, and while they are limited in terms of signing players, Mendieta feels they can still be competitive.
“Until someone leaves and money comes in, money can’t go out,” the 42-year-old continued. “It’s not ideal for the new project when fans want to see signings, but that is the situation for everyone to understand.
“I think the team as it is, it is a good team. It could be a competitive team. So let’s see what happens in terms of the market. Last year was too many changes to have consistency.”
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