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Ayestaran 'Valencia's prime candidate' after Barcelona win

Pako Ayestaran has become the "prime candidate" to be named permanent Valencia boss after their win over Barcelona, according to the club's sporting director.

An own goal from Ivan Rakitic and a strike from Santi Mina secured a 2-1 victory at Camp Nou for the visitors on Sunday, a result which takes them to within a point of the top eight.

Ayestaran - who was placed in charge of the first team until the end of the season following the sacking of Gary Neville last month - masterminded a 2-1 win over Sevilla prior to the victory against the champions, and has now been tipped as the man to take the reins on a long-term basis.

"We said from day one that Pako has a chance of continuing with us," Valencia director Jesus Garcia Pitarch said to Canal Plus. "He's doing well, he's the first candidate and the strongest candidate.

"This [win] comforts us and gives us encouragement to keep trusting the players. The result made us proud of the team.

"The game reminded us of the 7-0 [defeat] in the Copa [del Rey], and we wanted to forget that.

"Diego Alves had an outstanding match. He saved two or three certain goals."