Gary Neville insisted he will not resign as Valencia manager despite describing his side's 7-0 Copa del Rey defeat to Barcelona as one of his "most painful nights in football."
Wednesday's heavy loss in the semi-final first leg at the Camp Nou—which saw Lionel Messi grab a hat-trick and Luis Suarez net four—has piled the pressure further on Neville following his failure to win any of his first eight league games in charge.
Per the Press Association (via MailOnline), he was asked three separate times after Wednesday's defeat whether he would resign, initially answering "no", before losing patience with the line of enquiry: "Next question. I have answered that before. I think I was very clear," he said.
However, Neville did admit that it was not an acceptable performance from his side:
This was one of my most painful nights in football. The scoreline is unacceptable. I have not enjoyed tonight. I won't sleep well tonight.
I didn't like what I saw. The fans didn't deserve that. We have to recover incredibly quickly.
This is one of the worst experiences I've ever gone through in football.
Highlights of the clash can be seen below:
Neville's fledgling managerial career has been largely disappointing since his surprise appointment until the end of the season as successor to Nuno Espirito Santo.
La Liga has not been a happy hunting ground for the former Manchester United defender as he has recorded three losses and five draws in charge of the team.
The Copa had previously provided respite from the pressures of the Spanish top flight, with Neville guiding Valencia to the semi-finals in clinical fashion.
But a more chastening experience than a 7-0 drubbing Neville could not have anticipated when Valencia had the misfortune of being drawn against Luis Enrique's side in the last four.
However, as noted by the Guardian's Daniel Harris, getting taken apart by one of the best forward lines in the history of the game is little indicator that Neville is failing:
Daniel Harris @DanielHarris
Gary Neville may not be ready to be a manager and may never be a manager, but getting gubbed 7-0 by that Barcelona team proves nothing.2/3/2016, 10:08:48 PM
Defeat in Valencia's next game away at Real Betis on Sunday, though, and the former pundit could be out of a job.
The Seville outfit are in similarly disastrous form having not won a league game since November, and Neville's position could be unsustainable if his side return empty-handed to Valencia, per Spanish football writer David Cartlidge:
David Cartlidge @davidjaca
Valencia play Betis on Sunday. The one club in more turmoil, internally and on the pitch, than them. Neville should go if Valencia lose.2/3/2016, 11:05:33 PM
On the other hand, a victory could be a big boost for Los Che, and they will look to save face when they host Barcelona next week in the return leg of the Copa semi-final.
Neville was always likely to struggle in his first managerial role, especially at such a high-profile club. But his refusal to quit is admirable, and he is not the first person to feel the force of Barca's attack.
Betis is now a vital game for Valencia and their manager, and it could yet have a big say on how the rest of their season unfolds.