Valencia coach Gary Neville is ready to get the best out of Alvaro Negredo and says he was the “perfect striker” when he played for Manchester City.
The powerful centre-forward fell out with previous coach Nuno Espirito Santo and this along with an appendicitis means he has not played since early October.
Neville, though, is eager for him to show the form that brought him 23 goals for City during the 2013-14 season and helped them win the Premier League.
“I saw Alvaro play a lot at City and he was an important player in the league, he was like the perfect striker and I don’t see why he cannot recover that level,” Neville told a news conference on Saturday.
The former Manchester United and England player’s first La Liga match is on Sunday at Eibar with the side eighth in the table on 20 points.
Neville oversaw a 2-0 defeat by Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday that meant Valencia failed to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League.
“I spoke to Alvaro before the Lyon match and we need to bring him back sensibly having been out three months,” said Neville.
“He is getting stronger but this is a process and he will get to his peak eventually. Maybe 25 minutes here and then 30 or 35, little by little. I have confidence in him because he is a very good player and can help the team a lot.”
Neville faces a tough challenge in his first club coaching role with expectations high following heavy investment by Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim.
Under Nuno they qualified for the Champions League but a lack of consistency in this campaign led him to resign at the end of last month.
Neville is handicapped by not speaking Spanish but he is happy that his instructions are getting across.
“I think so, it is difficult in modern football to have repetitive sessions due to matches on Wednesday and the weekend, and for that reason we have video analysis,” Neville said.
“The players have been responsive and the meetings have been very good. They don’t have any problem talking freely about the situation and I like that. The video sessions are not like a class but an opportunity to interact and talk.
“The video allows us to do a meticulous analysis because we would not be able to train for four hours before a game against Eibar.”
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