They may have sold the likes of David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata over the past 18 months but Valencia CF continue to impress both in the Liga and in European competition. The feat, midfielder Pablo Hernández told UEFA.com, is largely down to the efforts of coach Unai Emery.
Hernández has been at Mestalla for the whole of Emery's reign and is fond of the 40-year-old's coaching style. It will be put to the test in the coming weeks as the Blanquinegros seek victories at home against KRC Genk on Wednesday and at section leaders Chelsea FC in their final game to secure qualification from UEFA Champions League Group E.
"He works well; he's a very hard working coach and nobody can criticise him," said the 26-year-old. "He has his own ideas and a philosophy which is very well defined and works really hard with the team to integrate those ideas. He has shown that he's a good coach who likes to work hard and who really studies the opposition. We've been getting the results in the three years he has been here."
That Emery has achieved so much despite the club being forced to sell players to balance the books makes his work doubly impressive. Hernández admits the side have had to move on following the departures of Villa, Silva and Mata.
"We know they are players of great quality," said Hernández, ever-present for Valencia in Europe this season. "They had to leave, but the club is making great efforts to bring in players with great futures, a lot of quality and desire. Those are the things we've been lacking so we're all doing our best so the departure of an important player won't be noticed."
Hernández played a part in the second leg of Valencia's defeat by FC Schalke 04 in last season's round of 16 but is hoping his side can progress further this time around. "We would like to improve on last year," he said. "We know it is difficult to win the Champions League because there are great teams involved but you have to dream.
If you abandon your dreams and settle for a little then you will never achieve all you can. You have to fight hard."
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