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Nuno defends Jorge Mendes Valencia role as Gary Neville becomes coach

Outgoing Valencia coach Nuno Espirito Santo has defended the controversial role played by super-agent Jorge Mendes at the La Liga club, who appointed Gary Neville as head coach on Wednesday.

Valencia have officially spent over €200 million since Singapore billionaire Peter Lim took control of the club over 18 months ago, with at least 10 players having arrived at Mestalla including a number of youngsters represented by Mendes signed for significant sums.

Lim was first introduced to the club by Mendes and Nuno, who is leaving after overseeing a poor start to the 2015-16 campaign, is also a long-time associate of the Portuguese representative.

England coach Neville, who knows Lim from their shared association with English non-league side Salford City, is succeeding Nuno until the end of the 2015-16 campaign.

Speaking before Neville's appointment was announced, former Rio Ave coach Nuno defended Mendes as "the best agent in the world" for helping to build a Valencia squad full of potential which can succeed in future.

"A short time ago I heard that it was a privilege to be able to work with the best agent in the world," he told his farewell news conference on Monday. "I don't know why this has changed. He remains the best agent in the world. He has helped Valencia a lot.

"The players he has brought, I believe they will soon be the best in the world. You must recognise his work. The squad planning was what we believed was the best. I believe we were right in all the individual judgements. There is a young squad with a lot of potential, the youngest in La Liga. This project will have success for sure."

Nuno admitted that in recent months he had lost the confidence of a squad which last season finished fourth in La Liga, while saying a lack of support from Valencia's fans had played a role in their disappointing recent results.

"The confidence of the dressing room, well I did have it," he said. "We had confidence and full commitment. The only person responsible for the drop in form was me -- for not getting the maximum performance from all the players I had. For not being able to continue the good work of last year.

"The players believe they can give more, they must. But they need to be supported, to feel people are with them, that the fans understand their youth, that they are with them in every game, so their quality can come through.

"I had become the problem, because the fans were not supporting us, but had turned on me. Now I ask them to support the players, because they have the quality they have shown before."

The former Deportivo La Coruna and Porto goalkeeper thanked Lim and the club's chairwoman Layhoon Chan -- who said on Tuesday she was "fed up" of speculation Mendes would help to pick the new coach -- for their support during his time in charge.

"Thanks particularly to Peter Lim, the person who gave me this opportunity to manage Valencia for more than 500 days," Nuno said. "He is a friend, and Valencia must appreciate Peter Lim and Layhoon because with them Valencia is in good hands."

Voro is for a third time taking temporary control of the squad ahead of Wednesday's Copa del Rey clash at Segunda B leaders Barakaldo and Saturday's clash with La Liga leaders Barcelona at Mestalla. The former Valencia player will be assisted by Phil Neville, who was already on the club's coaching staff, for those games before older brother Gary Neville takes charge until the end of the campaign.

"It will not be Voro's first experience of this," Nuno said. "He was close to all the players, he knows them. He knows he is in a transitional role, and is ready for that.

"We knew each other from our time as players and are great friends. I wish him luck, first, and help from this moment so there is an immediate reaction with good moments tomorrow and Saturday [against Barca], because the squad needs that."