Mauricio Pellegrino has promised that his patched-together Valencia CF side will be ready to take on LOSC Lille in their UEFA Champions League Group F encounter, while Rudi Garcia is challenging his players to improve their finishing – and stem a tide of spectacular goals at the other end.
Coach Mauricio Pellegrino
There are three important points available for both teams, but whatever happens there are still more games to be played. João Pereira is among the 19 players on my list, but tomorrow we will have another light training session and see if he gets in the 18. Antonio Barragán and Carlos Delgado would be the other two options. We have a lot of defensive injuries, but the 11 players on the pitch will be ready to play – I have full confidence in them.
Lille have not had a very good start in the league, but they are a great team, a high-quality opponent. I hope we can have a good start at home and that the team and fans will leave the stadium with a big smile on their faces. It is always easier to work after a good result [2-0 against Real Zaragoza on Saturday].
Saturday: Valencia 2-0 Real Zaragoza (Feghouli 12, Viera 59)
Guaita; João Pereira (Barragán 49), Rami, Ruiz, Cissokho; Gago, T Costa; Feghouli, Jonas, Viera (Guardado 72); Soldado (Valdez 85).
• Jonathan Viera struck his first goal for Valencia two minutes before fellow scorer Sofiane Feghouli was sent off.
Ricardo Costa (right calf) misses out along with Adil Rami, who was sent off on matchday one, David Albelda (hamstring) and Pablo Piatti (broken arm). Fernando Gago's weekend appearance was his first since suffering a head injury playing for Argentina on 11 September.
Coach Rudi Garcia
We have been conceding more goals than in previous years, but every game is different, and we will fight to change this. We need to score at Mestalla, because we lost our home game on matchday one [against FC BATE Borisov], and we have to get something positive. In Saturday's league game we had more possession than our opponents [but lost 2-0].
We must not abandon or doubt our system – we need to change a few things and improve our efficiency.
We know that Valencia are a great team, one of the best in Spain. Like us, they have several important players injured but we must be strong and more effective. I have a team that can drive forward despite the injuries in midfield. We have conceded a lot of goals from distance, but this kind of situation comes and goes suddenly – last year, we were the ones scoring that kind of goal. We have worked on this, so hopefully we will not be caught out again, though Valencia have some great strikers. [Roberto] Soldado is one of them, but Valencia are not about one great striker – they have other great players like Tino Costa and we must have a balance across all lines [of the pitch] to get something positive.
Saturday: Stade Rennais FC 2-0 LOSC (Féret 8, Alessandrini 19)
Landreau; Debuchy, Basa, Chedjou, Digne; Mavuba (Balmont 52), Pedretti, Gueye (De Melo); Roux, Mendes, Payet (Klonaridis 77).
• LOSC have failed to win in their last six Ligue 1 outings, with their only victory of the season coming at AS Saint-Étienne on the opening day.
Captain Rio Mavuba is doubtful with a knee problem. Marvin Martin (adductor) faces a race to prove his fitness but full-back Franck Béria has returned to training following a back injury. Dorian Klonaridis made his first appearance of the season at the weekend, while Salomon Kalou (hamstring) did not feature but has since taken part in training.
Valencia's Rami was at LOSC from 2007/08 to 2010/11 and a key player in their historic double in his last season there before joining Valencia. He scored seven goals in 127 top-flight appearances. Mestalla team-mates Aly Cissokho (Olympique Lyonnais), Jérémy Mathieu (FC Sochaux-Montbéliard, Toulouse FC), Tino Costa (Montpellier Hérault SC) and Feghouli (Grenoble Foot 38) have also played in France.
©UEFA.com 1998-2017. All rights reserved.