FC BATE Borisov will not be short of information on Valencia CF as they bid to extend their winning start in UEFA Champions League Group F to three matches. Two members of the club's coaching staff hail from the Spanish city and its vicinity, and they have been able to provide coach Viktor Goncharenko with "detailed information about their strengths and weaknesses". Valencia, facing Belarusian opposition for the first time, are eager to end a run of seven UEFA Champions League away games without a win.
Coach Viktor Goncharenko
We should not be tired because we used an experimental squad in Mozyr [on Thursday] comprising those who did not play for the national side and some fringe players, too. We approach the game in bullish mood.
Valencia's approach may differ from last year, but they are a club who do not need further introduction. They have a quality squad and regularly finish third behind Real Madrid and Barcelona. We are not short of any information about them because our physio, Daniel Saez Irrure, comes from Valencia, while [fitness coach] José Pastor Verchili was born nearby. They have told us everything that we need to know, giving us detailed information about their strengths and weaknesses.
It is hard to say if we would be happy with a draw. We could definitely say so afterwards, though it depends if we were ahead or conceded first. Anyway, we are thinking only about victory.
Thursday: FC Slavia Mozyr 1-2 BATE (Irkha 71; Kurlovich 20, Mozolevski 43)
Gorbunov; Kuntsevich (Polyakov 77), Sivakov, Simić, Yurevich; Olekhnovich, Volodko, Kurlovich (Bressan 69), Rudik; Mozolevski (Rodionov 82), Vasilyuk.
• The victory was BATE coach Viktor Goncharenko's 100th in the Belarusian top flight in only his 153rd league game in charge.
Goncharenko confirmed in his press conference that "everybody is fit for the game, so I have 21 outfield players ready and that is definitely some headache".
Coach Mauricio Pellegrino
We are looking at a very important game. It will be very demanding for my players as BATE are a very balanced team with some interesting players. If we win, we will have another important game. If it is a draw the next game will be even more important, but if we lose we will have a crucial game next. We will try to have more of the ball, but it is more important to play effectively and I hope we will succeed in doing that.
I agree that our defence has to be more reliable. We cannot afford too many defensive mistakes against BATE, and I think it is time to win away at last.
This winless run on the road started before me and continues, and it is time to change it. We do not have to change anything specific on the pitch, we have to change our mentality.
Saturday: Valencia 3-2 Athletic Club (Soldado 26pen, Tino Costa 88, Valdez 90; Aduriz 19 30)
Guaita; Barragán, Rami, Ruiz, Mathieu (Banega 77); Gago, Tino Costa; Viera, Jonas (Valdez 62), Berna (Guardado 73), Soldado.
• Valencia responded to two goals by former striker Aritz Aduriz to earn only their third Liga win this season.
Goalkeeper Vicente Guaita felt sick on the flight to Belarus, and will be assessed in the hours ahead. The absence of left-back Jérémy Mathieu (heel) led Pellegrino to suggest the possibility of fielding a three man defence. Striker Nelson Valdez is expected to play, with the coach insisting he was not carrying an injury in recent days, but recovering from international exertions with Paraguay.
This is the first time Valencia have crossed swords with a team from Belarus. BATE have lost all six encounters against Spanish opposition. At home they have conceded eight goals without scoring; in fact, only a goal in their first fixture away to Villarreal CF prevents a total blank in those six games which have brought 18 goals against.
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