Football

Valencia chief Chan apologises for dismal year

Valencia have hardly any reason to be joyful about this festive season.

As the La Liga enters the winter break, the Spanish club owned by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim are languishing in 17th spot, winning only three matches in 15 rounds.

They are level on 12 points with 18th-placed Sporting Gijon but have a better goal difference.

On Saturday, Valencia's club president Chan Lay Hoon apologised to the suffering fans for the team's poor performance in 2016.

"It has been a difficult year and I want to ask forgiveness from all of Valencia's fans for the poor season," said the Singaporean.

Very little has worked for Valencia for the last two seasons.

Coaches Nuno Espirito Santo, Gary Neville and Pako Ayesteran have all been fired, and the team have continued to struggle despite the appointment of former Italy national coach Cesare Prandelli, who led the Azzurri to a runners-up finish at Euro 2012.

Valencia's last league loss, a 3-2 defeat by Real Sociedad on Dec 10, was too much for some supporters, who kicked and punched the players' bus when it returned to the club's training centre.

"We are going to keep working to find solutions," said Chan.

"In this special season, I want to send a message of hope, perseverance and confidence for the future."

Over the years, Valencia have lost their top players to bigger clubs and their recruitments have not filled the gaps.

They suffered another blow over the weekend after Spanish media outlet ​Sport reported that Barcelona have agreed a deal to sign their Portuguese right back Joao Cancelo next summer for an estimated 30 million euros (S$45.3m).

Meanwhile, former Brazil midfielder Felipe Melo could make a surprise move to Valencia next month, according to reports from Brazilian media.

The 33-year-old has fallen out of favour at Inter Milan this season and, in recent weeks, has been linked to Brazilian clubs Palmeiras, Flamengo, Corinthians and Sao Paulo.

But Valencia coach Prandelli is said to be keen to sign Melo in the January transfer window.

"Prandelli worked with him at Fiorentina in 2008 and 2009 and would like to do the same at Valencia," Brazilian newspaper Lance reported on Saturday. 
- WIRE SERVICES

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