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Dec 19, 2012

Llorente vows to battle on

Under-fire Valencia president Manuel Llorente says he has no intention of resigning, insisting a run of poor results on the pitch should not obscure the progress the club is making off it.

Los Che coach Manuel Pellegrino was fired two weeks ago with Valencia in the bottom half of the table. This has not soothed the anger of supporters, however, and Sunday's 1-0 defeat against Rayo Vallecano at Mestalla brought further calls for Llorente's head.

Since he became president in June 2009, stars including David Villa, David Silva, Juan Mata and Jordi Alba have been sold, while the heavily indebted club has negotiated with its banks to try to secure funds to complete its new stadium.

After a board meeting on Tuesday, the president reminded reporters that he had been successful in cutting Valencia's overall debt from €550 million to €360 million and said his exit would not help either the club or the team.

"A bad sporting moment should not put the club into an institutional crisis," he said. "If I knew that with my departure the team would start winning immediately and the economic problems would disappear then I would not be here."

Llorente did, however, hint that he and his board may not continue when their current term ends next summer.

"Personally it would be a lot more peaceful if I left (now), but we have undertaken commitments and a sense of responsibility," he said. "I cannot guarantee that I will stay in charge after June, because I am only thinking about tomorrow."

The executive admitted that his decision to appoint rookie coach Pellegrino last summer had been a mistake.

"I can be reproached for some things," he said. "I must recognise that I am the one responsible for Pellegrino. I bet on him. That has set us back a few months. Whoever takes the decisions can make a mistake. I will try not to make more mistakes of that level."

Pellegrino's successor, Ernesto Valverde, may be provided with money to spend in January's transfer window, Llorente hinted.

"We will not scrimp on anything so as to ensure that the club regains its sporting reality," he said.

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