Gary Neville arrived at Valencia in the “worst moment”, according to Alvaro Negredo, who blamed the coach’s swift exit on the language barrier.
Former Manchester United defender Neville surprisingly took over at Mestalla – his first senior coaching role – last December but failed to see out the remainder of the 2015-16 season.
The Englishman won just 10 of his 28 matches in all competitions at the helm, failing to salvage the team’s Champions League campaign before overseeing exits from both the Copa del Rey and the Europa League, and was replaced by Pako Ayestaran in March.
Negredo admitted tension at Valencia was high during that period, making it difficult for Neville to succeed.
“I think he came in the worst moment. It was a very difficult situation; very tense with the supporters, with the technical staff … the criticism of the club was at its height,” he told ESPN FC.
“The results didn’t go in our favour and it’s a pity, because he was a great guy and treated us very well.
“What happened was, some team-mates didn’t understand English, and a translator saying it just isn’t the same as a manager saying it.
“You don’t feel it in the same way. And, well, through the language, and the pressure that was there, there wasn’t much time … it was difficult.”
Ex-Manchester City striker Negredo has since returned to the Premier League with Middlesbrough, and he believes the English top flight is more physical than LaLiga.
“The English teams have a more direct game, stronger, more physical than Real [Madrid] or Barcelona,” added Negredo.
“For me, it hasn’t changed much in that sense. The teams are very intense, with players who fight for every ball.”