Valencia coach Marcelino wants the club’s fairytale season to continue this afternoon when they face rivals Villarreal at the Estadio de Mestalla for the battle of three points in LaLiga as they attempt to close the gap on leaders Barcelona.
Marcelino, who is in fact a former Villarreal mentor, but was sacked a few days prior to the start of the previous campaign for indifferences with the board, has inspired an incredible resurgence since taking over at Valencia in this current term – just eight points behind pace setters Barcelona in third place.
“I look at this as a final,” he said on Friday at the club’s training base.
“Villarreal are doing well at the moment and they have very good players, but this is a match we can’t afford to lose.”
Valencia finished 12th in LaLiga last season and management moved pretty swiftly to tie Marcelino to a contract, confirming his appointment in May this year even though he would only start in the new campaign.
“I wish for us to remain professional next year and aim for the targets we have set for the club,” the coach said. One of the targets would be to end Valencia’s 10-year trophy drought.
Asked about the result he hoped for in this afternoon’s El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Marcelino said a draw would best suit Valencia, who hope to return to the Champions League next year.
Kick-off between Valencia and Villarreal is at 5:15pm SA time, three hours after the El Classico.
* Mazola Molefe is a guest of LaLiga in Spain ahead of today’s El Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona