MADRID: Former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo has hailed Gary Neville’s arrival as a turning point for Valencia’s strike force after bagging his first hat-trick for the club in a 4-0 Copa del Rey rout of Granada on Wednesday.
Victory was just Neville’s second in seven games in charge since being surprisingly handed his first managerial role by the Spanish side last month.
However, the former Manchester United captain has brought Negredo back into the fold after he was sidelined by Neville’s predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo.
Neville’s arrival has also coincided with an upturn in form for the club’s other strikers Paco Alcacer, Santi Mina and Rodrigo.
Negredo missed a huge chance to seal a famous win over Real Madrid in the dying seconds of Sunday’s pulsating 2-2 draw, which proved to be Rafael Benitez’s last match in charge of Madrid.
But he showed no ill effects to open the scoring early on before converting two penalties after the break.
“I hope every week I get to miss a clear chance and in the next game scoring a hat-trick,” said Negredo.
“This one is so special because it’s the first one with Valencia. With Gary Neville’s arrival everything has changed.”
Rodrigo scored the other goal as Valencia made next week’s second-leg a mere formality on their route to the quarter-finals.
And Neville insisted the goals for all of his frontmen were just a fruit of their labour since he took charge.
“After the game against Madrid you asked me about Alvaro and I said there was no problem, those things happen in football,” he said.
“Today you’ve seen Alvaro’s confidence and his belief.
“I’m really happy with all four of them, they’re all doing the right things, they’re all working hard.
“If you prepare well for football matches, you work hard then your luck comes.”