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Barcelona draw shows signs of life for boss Gary Neville at Valencia

By Pete Jenson

Published 07/12/2015

Looking up: Gary Neville will be pleased by his side
Looking up: Gary Neville will be pleased by his side

He was behind the glass partition of club owner Peter Lim's private box at the Mestalla when the 86th-minute equaliser came, but Gary Neville will still have felt the stadium shake as the net bulged.

Neville takes his first training session as Valencia coach this morning and after brother Phil helped mastermind an impressive 1-1 draw against champions Barcelona on Saturday, he will know that there is plenty to be positive about as he looks forward to his first match in charge on Wednesday against Lyon.

Beating the Ligue 1 side will give Valencia a chance of reaching the Champions League knockout stage and Lyon's form suggests it is well within their grasp. Valencia in contrast have lost only one of their last nine at the Mestalla in Europe and are on a run of 19 home games without defeat in all competitions. They will welcome back full-back Joao Cancelo and midfielder Javi Fuego from suspension and centre-half Shkodran Mustafi might yet overcome a hamstring injury to return to the side.

If Los Che win they are then in the hands of Andre Villas-Boas's Zenit St Peterburg. Should the Russians, who have already won the group, manage a home draw against Gent and Valencia win, the Neville brothers will be in the last 16 of the Champions League.

As preparation for what will be his first memorable European night as a coach, the draw against Barcelona was full of signs of encouragement for Gary Neville.

The fans were united behind the team, even though Luis Suarez's 12th goal of the season - which appeared offside - gave Barcelona the lead.

Striker Paco Alcacer is perhaps one of the main stars in the team and it was the Spain international who earned his team a point with just four minutes left.

When a long pass dropped to him on the edge of the area, Alcacer had Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique either side of him and the odds stacked in their favour. But he brought the ball down and drifted between his markers before rolling it to the unmarked Santi Mina to score.

Neville celebrates the 1999 Champions League triumph with his brother Phil.
Neville celebrates the 1999 Champions League triumph with his brother Phil.
Gary Neville has had success off the field as a pundit.
Sky Pundit Gary Neville speaks on camera prior to kickoff during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at Boleyn Ground on April 6, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Former England international Gary Neville poses on arrival for the world premiere of the film Ronaldo in central London on November 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JACK TAYLORJACK TAYLOR/AFP/Getty Images
Gary, Rio Ferdinand and keeper Roy Carroll.
Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville are funding a plan to turn the Stock Exchange building in Manchester into a 35-bedroom luxury hotel
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have become popular as TV pundits after careers opposed to each other.
Jamie Carragher of Liverpool argues with Gary Neville of Manchester United after United were awarded a penalty in the first half of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 21, 2010 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes own part of Salford City FC.
Gary Neville
Gary Neville (right) was Wayne Rooney's team-mate at Manchester United and England
Gary Neville at his Testimonial Match between Manchester United and Juventus at Old Trafford on May 24, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Neville got into hot water over a goal celebration against Liverpool. The defender said he meant no disrespect to fans when he kissed the badge in front of opposing fans.
Manchester United star Gary Neville signs autographs for fans in the Europa Hotel
Gift sets are presented to United legends Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville by Gareth Bradley, managing director of wine company Woodford Bourne
Phil and Gary in their heyday playing for Manchester United
Gary Neville will be remembered by football fans as England's best-ever right back and as a legend at Manchester United
"If he was an inch taller he'd be the best centre half in Britain. His father is 6ft 2in - I'd check the milkman." - Alex Ferguson on Gary Neville
Gary Neville on England duty.
Buoyant: England coach Gary Neville laughs with Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Kieran Gibbs
Gary Neville, pictured here with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portrait of Gary Neville of Manchester United lining up for the UEFA Champions League Group B match against Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence, Italy. Fiorentina won 2-0 in November 1999. Mandatory Credit: Alex Livesey /Allsport
22 Mar 1999: A portrait of Gary Neville of England. \ Mandatory Credit: Graham Chadwick /Allsport
Gary Neville has spoken out about Manchester United's defensive problems
Roy Hodgson and Gary Neville watch an England friendly ahead of the World Cup.
1 Apr 2000: Dwight Yorke, David Beckham, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes of Manchester United celebrate against West Ham United during the FA Carling Premiership match at Old Trafford in Manchester, England. Manchester United won 7-1. \ Mandatory Credit:Michael Steele /Allsport
Neville celebrates a win over bitter rivals Liverpool.
Gary Neville of Manchester United in action during the Umbro Cup pre-season tournament between Ajax, Chelsea, Manchester United and Nottingham Forest at the City ground in Nottingham in 1996. Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford/Allsport UK
Gary Neville of Manchester United celebrates his team's victory at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on January 11, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Sir Alex Ferguson with his 'fledglings' – Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Paul Scholes

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