The last time Valencia CF faced PSV Eindhoven they registered a scoreline which they would no doubt dearly love to repeat when the two teams meet again in the UEFA Europa League round of 16.
That previous encounter – a 2-0 victory in Austria – was a pre-season friendly. However, with neither side at full strength, Bruno Saltor - a standout performer as Unai Emery's team overcame Stoke City FC in the last 32 - knows Thursday's first leg at Mestalla is going to be a very different occasion. The 31-year-old right-back is therefore determined none of his team-mates take Fred Rutten's charges lightly.
"The pre-season game against PSV didn't teach us much other than the fact that they will be difficult opponents," he said. "They are club with a substantial pedigree and loads of potential, so it's going to be a testing tie, especially given we play the first leg at home. The UEFA Europa League is a very important competition for us and one we will continue to approach with pride. That's a feeling we will try and transmit to the crowd. We will take it game by game, but the ultimate objective is obvious."
Elegant midfielder Daniel Parejo, meanwhile, has been a reluctant beneficiary of long-term injuries to Sergio Canales and Éver Banega, proving himself to be a particularly central figure during Valencia's powerful performance against their Premier League opponents in the last round. He too is respectful but optimistic in the face of another northern European test.
"I'm sure PSV are a great team and they will make qualification difficult for us," he told UEFA.com. "However, the Europa League and the Spanish league are the only competitions left for us, and we know we have to give our utmost to go as far as possible."
If PSV were to consult Valencia's last victims they would find Stoke's manager, Tony Pulis, and their goalkeeper, Thomas Sørensen, tipping the Spaniards as potential winners of this tournament. Pulis said: "I think that, with the two Manchester clubs, Valencia have a great chance of winning the UEFA Europa League. They certainly have the quality, there's no question about that."
Danish international Sørensen added: "Valencia will create chances no matter who they play against and they look sharp. It will be tough for PSV, but I reckon there will be two tight games in the round of 16."
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