Champions League opponents thrashed

Last updated : 19 January 2003 By Martyn Elliott

Louis van Gaal’s manager’s job at Barcelona is hanging by a thread after his team crashed to a 4-2 home defeat to ten-man Valencia.

Pablo Aimar and John Carew put the visitors two up early on, only for Thiago Motta to pull one back in the 38th minute.

Valencia had goalkeeper Santiago Canizares dismissed for a professional foul just before the break, but Barcelona were unable to capitalise.

Fabio Aurelio and Fransisco Rufette scored to breakaway goals for the visitors late on, before Patrick Kluivert scored a consolation in stoppage time.

The defeat was met with unrest in the crowd and calls for van Gaal to go.

"We are in a situation that is very difficult, we have lost in a way that shouldn't happen," the Dutch coach admitted afterwards.

"We have not shown enough and we should have won being 11 against ten.

"This result could have been a game too many but the players and technical staff have all agreed we have confidence in the team.

"We are very sad because we have lost a game that we couldn't afford to lose but the players will have to show character to recover the situation and this is what we will have to do for the next game."

Meanwhile Inter crashed to a shock 4-1 defeat at Serie A strugglers Perugia.

Two goals from Zisis Vryzas, a Marcelo Ze Maria penalty and a Massimiliano Fusani strike gave Perugia a 4-0 lead before Inter had Luigi di Biagio sent off.

Christian Vieri scored Inter’s consolation from the penalty spot seven minutes from time.

The Bundesliga is still on its winter break so Bayer Leverkusen had no game.