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Gary Neville thanks 16,400 Valencia fans who attended draw vs. Barcelona

Valencia coach Gary Neville expressed his gratitude to the club's fans who attended Wednesday's Copa del Rey meeting with Barcelona.

After losing the first leg 7-0, Neville's side drew 1-1 with La Liga giants Barca in the semifinal at the Mestalla.

Los Che's stadium has a capacity of 55,000 but just 16,400 attended the match amid pressure on boss Neville, who has yet to win a La Liga game.

"I am thankful to the fans who came here to support," the former Manchester United captain said. "I'm also aware it's the right of the fans who didn't come tonight not to come.

"I think the stadium on Saturday will be full, it will be an electric atmosphere. We and the team need the fans more than ever on Saturday."

The coach, who also has a role with the england national team, has come under scrutiny for Valencia's form and he faces a crunch match against Espanyol this weekend.

Neville felt his side deserved more than a draw against Barca and praised his second string for playing "with dignity."

Alvaro Negredo put the hosts on course for their first win against Barcelona in six years with his sixth goal since Neville took charge in November, but Wilfrid Kaptoum equalised with six minutes to go to rewrite the history books as Luis Enrique eclipsed Pep Guardiola's record of 28 matches without defeat.

"The positive thing is the performance of some of the youngest players," Neville said in his postmatch news conference.

"And I think we deserved to win. These haven't been the best circumstances after the last week, but the players have played with dignity.

"We could have scored a second goal in the second half and that would have killed off the game, but they [Barcelona], have equalised on the counter attack."

Negredo raced on to Wilfried Zahibo's pass six minutes before the break and rolled the ball into the net after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had fumbled the striker's original effort.

The hosts wasted chances to grab a second, but on the whole, Valencia restricted Barca to the point where their first shot on target came only after the hour-mark.

Luis Enrique, meanwhile, is already looking forward to competing in the final, most likely against Sevilla, who hold a four-goal lead over Celta Vigo in the other semifinal.

"At Barca we're very used to playing in finals," said the Barcelona coach, who omitted stars like Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez from his starting XI on Wednesday.

"But it is very difficult to get this far and we're really looking forward to it. It says a lot for this club's ability to reinvent itself. We're delighted."

Luis Enrique shrugged off the importance of beating Guardiola's record, which has stood for five years.

"The record is just numbers," said the Spaniard, who won the Treble in his first season in charge. "So let's see if those numbers are good enough to bring us titles."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.


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